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Sloganeering at Quaid's mausoleum: Capt Safdar arrested, released on bail

Top Story

October 20, 2020

Sloganeering at Quaid's mausoleum: Capt Safdar arrested, released on bail

KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s leader Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar Awan was released 10 hours after he was arrested on Monday morning from a hotel in Karachi after he was booked for violating the sanctity of the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The Brigade police, on the night between Sunday and Monday, registered an FIR No591/20 under sections 6,8,10 of the Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazar Protection & and Maintenance Ordinance 1971, read with 506-B and 427, on behalf of complainant Waqas Ahmed Khan, a resident of Saadi Town in Karachi against Maryam Nawaz, Captain (retd) Safdar Awan and 200 others for violating the sanctity of Quaid’s Mazar.

Awan, also the son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was arrested hours after Maryam participated in a mass protest by the opposition parties against Prime Minister Imran Khan. He was arrested from his hotel room. Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Vice President of Pakistan Muslim League-N, and daughter of Nawaz gave out the information by tweeting on Monday.

“We were staying in a hotel in Karachi. During this time, the police broke the door of our room and entered. They have arrested Captain Safdar Awan,” Maryam wrote in the tweet. She also retweeted a video claiming that police had forcefully entered her hotel room to arrest her husband and the video also showed the broken lock of the hotel’s room. Before being presented before a judicial magistrate in the afternoon where he was granted bail, Captain Safdar after the arrest was detained at the Aziz Bhatti police station of Karachi’s Zone East.

The PML-N leader was taken into custody after he was booked in a case pertaining to the violation of sanctity of Quaid-e-Azam'sMazar where a day earlier he had chanted the slogan "vote ko izzat do (honour the vote)" and urged the people to join him. The Quaid’s mausoleum, which is declared an historical monument of national importance, is maintained and protected under a special law. The ordinance, “The Quaid-i-Azam’s Mazar (Protection and Maintenance) Ordinance, 1971”, prohibits all kinds of demonstrations and political activities within the premises. It states: “No person shall organise, convene or take part in any meeting or demonstration or procession or engage in political activity of any kind within the Quaid-i-Azam's Mazar or within a distance of ten feet from the outer boundary thereof.”

Earlier in the day, the Sindh Police spokesperson confirmed the arrest of Captain Safdar in an official tweet. “The arrest of Captain (retd) Safdar was done according to law and the investigation will be impartial and on merit,” the spokesperson said deleting the tweet shortly after he tweeted.

PML-N leader and spokesman for Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz's audio had been leaked in which Umar, quoting the chief minister Sindh, said the IGP Sindh was ‘abducted’ by Rangers and they directed him to arrest Capt (retd) Safdar.

Zubair tells someone on the other end of the phone, “Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah has told me that first the IGP Sindh was pressured to arrest Capt (retd) Safdar. On the refusal of IGP, Rangers picked up at 4am and took him to the Sector Commander’s office where the Addl IGP Karachi was also brought in and they were forced to issue orders…”

Zubair once again quotes the CM Sindh, “Later, the Rangers along with the police went to the hotel, and sent the police to arrest him. The sector commander Rangers was directly involved in all this.” The PML-N leader concluded by saying that the chief minister has told and confirmed to me, “The IGP was forcefully brought from home. Furthermore, the chief minister asked me to tell this to everyone and that he was not hiding anything.”

Contrary to this, PTI leader and Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi denied the reports that Sindh inspector general of police (IGP) was "kidnapped and forced to register" a case against Captain Safdar.

Meanwhile, neither any official statement regarding the claims of IGP's kidnapping by Rangers was issued by the Sindh Police or Rangers nor any official from the police and Rangers were available for comment.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar was granted bail by a court against a surety of Rs100,000 here on Monday. Safdar was brought to the City Courts in an armoured personnel carrier amid tight security.

Hundreds of PML-N supporters were already present at the courts who showered the APC with rose petals. Meanwhile, supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were also present there, who chanted slogans against their rivals.

Safdar was represented by lawyer Yasin Azad, who is a former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. Azad moved two applications in the court, seeking bail for his client as well as quashing of the case against him.

The lawyer said his client was framed in the case out of political enmity and he did not break any law. He added that the FIR said the suspect was armed but a video of the incident showed that neither he nor his supporters were carrying any weapons.

On the other hand, the state prosecutor opposed both the applications, contending that the allegations against the suspect were serious and he should not be granted bail, otherwise it could affect the investigations.

During the hearing, a ruckus was observed as the PML-N and the PTI supporters engaged in a verbal spat, which forced the District East judicial magistrate Wazir Hussain Memon to call the case inside his chamber.

The judge, after hearing both the sides, approved the bail for Safdar and ordered him to submit a surety of Rs100,000 to secure his release. He also revoked the Section 506-B of the Pakistan Penal Code from the FIR, observing that the alleged offence did not attract it. After the hearing, Safdar told journalists that he was being victimised as he lodged a complaint against the federal government following an attack on him on August 11.

He said: “A person who is on the payroll of [intelligence] agencies registered a fake case against me, but I am not afraid. My only sin is that I spoke in favour of Fatima Jinnah against Ayub Khan.”

Meanwhile, the leaders of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), while strongly criticizing the arrest of Captain (retd) Safdar, termed it a desperate act of intrigue to split the opposition political alliance. Addressing a joint press conference on Monday, the PDM leaders were unanimous in terming Safdar’s arrest, not just an attack on PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz but the entire PDM. They announced revealing the identity of the complainant against Safdar and as to why this happened.

They said that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was saddened by the unfortunate development and even the Sindh chief minister was unaware of this episode, manifesting that some powerful quarters were running the government.

Speaking on the occasion, chief of PDM Maulana Fazlur Rehman charged that the police stormed Safdar’s room early in the morning and tore down the door. He was arrested and taken away in the presence of his wife. “Stooping so low is not the gentleman’s behaviour,” he said.

He said the Sindh government had already given its version while stating that the Sindh CM was unaware of the incident. He said when any government uses such crude tactics, it reflects it is in last throes of power.

“I have talked to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Vice-President of PPP Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and provincial Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, who is also present here, and none of them knew as to what happened." He pledged that all the conspiracies to divide the PDM will fail.

The PTI has fallen to such abysmal levels that in the past, the supporters of the PTI raised slogans against Nawaz Sharif at Khana-e-Kaaba, violating the sanctity of the holiest site of Islam, Fazl alleged.

Speaking on the occasion, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz expressed gratitude to all those who phoned her and expressed their concern over the incident. “We were asleep at around 6am when our hotel room was heavily knocked and when Safdar opened the door, police were present outside the room to arrest him. Safdar told them that he would return in a while with his medicines but by then the police personnel had broken down the door, barged into the room, and arrested him."

Maryam Nawaz said that Bilawal Bhutto phoned her to convey his deepest regrets. Later, the Sindh CM also phoned her and said that they were thoroughly embarrassed by the incident. “I am fully confident that the PPP had no hand in this entire episode and the idea never crossed my mind. But we are prepared and know that such things will happen and we are ready to face them,” she said.

Maryam Nawaz said that she knew very well who had become jittery with the slogans of “Give respect to the vote” and “Madar-e-Millat Zindabad”. She said that those who had stolen the mandate and ballot of the people were unnerved by the slogans. “These are the same elements who from Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah to Nawaz Sharif, had labelled the entire elected representatives of Pakistan traitors,” she said. She said the prime minister and rest of the PTI leadership can’t claim to have clean hands as past video recordings exist of unruly scenes at the Mazar-e-Quaid during his visit.

The PML-N leader said that murder cases are pending against the complainant who lodged the case against Safdar.

She said that Safdar has been receiving threats from the top level. “If someone thinks that Nawaz Sharif or Maryam Nawaz could be scared or dissuaded by threats or they would succeed in scuttling the PMD alliance, they are living in fools paradise," she said. Throwing down the gauntlet, Maryam said, “I’m present here, if you are courageous enough, then do come here and arrest me.”

Former prime minister and VP PPP Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that the People's Party and its Sindh government were saddened by this tragedy as they could not even think of committing such an act. “No society can permit such a shameful action,” he said while terming the development highly condemnable. He said the Sindh chief minister was not aware of the incident as all this happened without informing him. This only goes on to show that the government has become upset. This reflects that the days of the present government are numbered, Ashraf added.

He said that Maryam Nawaz was their guest and the culture of Sindh stood for offering extreme reverence to guests. The PPP leader said that a probe committee would be formed to investigate the incident.

Hours after the arrest of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz on Monday said he was arrested for insulting Pakistan and its people. "Forget about who arrested him, focus on the crime he committed, the reason for his arrest," he said speaking at the Peshawar Press Club. The federal minister insisted that his arrest had nothing to do with politics, adding that enemies are always trying to conspire against the country.

"How can we discredit the institution that guarantees national defence?" Shibli Faraz questioned. He said the judiciary was playing a positive role and everyone must abide by the law. "Nawaz Sharif is ill here and perfectly healthy when he goes abroad. We will arrest him and put him behind the bars," the minister remarked, adding that everyone must be held accountable. "The opposition was in power for 40 years. If these people do not answer, then why should anyone else?" He added that Prime Minister Imran Khan is a sincere leader and will take the country forward.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Monday strongly criticised the PML-N leaders for using the Mazar-e-Quaid to achieve political mileage and demanded an apology from them.

Talking to a private TV channel, the federal minister said PML-N leader Safdar’s arrest was according to the law, adding that the sanctity of Mazar-e-Quaid should be secured in any case. Replying to a question, he said the federal government had already sent a request to the British government for deportation of Nawaz Sharif, hoping to bring the convicted criminal back to the country soon.

Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the PML-N and PPP leaders were disrespecting the judiciary and national institutions, and dragging the national institutions into politics, which is not in favour of anyone.

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi on Monday said the Sindh government was trying to distance itself from the FIR and arrest of Safdar Awan, son-in-law of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif. In a statement made on social media, he said that Muhammad Zubair was selling nonsense narrative that chief minister Sindh was told that IG Sindh was kidnapped and forced to register the FIR, adding, "If this is true, then CM Sindh must fire IG Sindh or resign himself as his orders were not followed".

"I demand that CM Sindh immediately and publicly reject Muhammad Zubair's comments attributed to him about kidnapping of IG Sindh," he said.

He said that Zubair was decrying about 'state terrorism' regarding the arrest of Safdar Awan, adding that if arresting a criminal is state terrorism, then what was Model Town massacre by the police under Shahbaz.

He said that "lastly, certain elements in the media and opposition parties are unsuccessfully trying to confuse the issue of Safdar's arrest", adding that "instead of focusing on the crime he committed, they are asking how Safdar was charged and arrested".

The minister, sharing the Sindh Police tweet, said what kind of mockery is this. "Sindh police tweets about the arrest and then deletes the tweet! Even a zoo is run in a much more organized manner! Now Zubair is caught lying with his fist in the candy jar! Pathetic bunch of liars selling their souls to save their corrupt leadership," he said.

Also, Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan has called for arresting Maryam Nawaz after the arrest of her spouse Capt (retd) Safdar for violating the sanctity of Quaid-e-Azam's mausoleum deliberately. The logical end to deliberate violation of Quaid-e-Azam's Mazar was the arrest of Capt (retd) Safdar. Proceedings be initiated as per law, he said this in a statement issued here Monday.

He underlined that Maryam Nawaz with all humbleness should have apologized on the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam for plundering the country and promoting Indian establishment's ideology. He claimed that planning and mindset of spouse of Capt Safdar was working behind the unruly scenes at Mazar-e-Quaid.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr. Shahbaz Gill on Monday said that the first wicket of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had fallen in the second over. At the twitter, the SAPM reacted to former premier Nawaz Sharif not addressing the PDM rally in Karachi yesterday. Gill said that fugitive thief Nawaz Sharif did not address the Karachi rally. This indicates that PDM has rejected Nawaz Sharif. More wickets are yet to fall. Shame and humiliation are the fate of PDM, he said.

PTI Senator Faisal Javed, while passing a tongue in cheek remark at the PPP Sindh leadership, said that the PPP played as the real host by informing PML-N Sr Vice President Maryam Nawaz of her husband's bail hours before he was actually bailed out.

Addressing the Senate session on Monday, the PTI senator severely criticised the PML-N leadership for desecrating the mausoleum of the Father of Nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He said the PML-N should be ashamed for this action.

Zia Ur Rehman adds: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Sindh leaders on Monday said that instead of taking notice of violating the sanctity of the Quaid's mausoleum, the Sindh chief minister put pressure on the police not to register the case against Captain (retd) Safdar and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s other leaders.

PTI Central Vice President and Parliamentary Leader of the party in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh, while addressing a press conference at the Insaf House, said it was reprehensible to raise political slogans inside the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam.

PTI Karachi President and MPA Khurram Sher Zaman said the government will not allow anyone to speak against the country or the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He commended the Sindh Police for lodging a first information report (FIR) against Capt (retd) Safdar at 6am on Monday. "Sindh Police have realised that no one is above the law,” said Zaman.