Clashes break out between Pakistani Army and Pakistani Police at Bombay Bakery Hyderabad, Pakistan. Pakistani Army has reportedly taken over all police stations in Karachi.
Heavy fire was exchanged between the Pakistani Army and Sindh Police after Pakistani Army tried to take custody of a Superintendent of Sindh Police, Md. Aftab Anwar. According to reports, the clash has claimed the lives of five Pakistani Army officers and 10 Karachi police officers.
Rumours of civil war-like situation swirled around Karachi after 13 top-ranking officers of Sindh Police decided to go on leave to protest the manner in which the force had been “ridiculed” in the incident involving the arrest of Muhammad Safdar, son-in-law of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on Monday.
Safdar and wife Maryam Nawaz were attending a rally of the Opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) when he was arrested from their hotel for allegedly disrespecting the mausoleum of Jinnah.
Safdar was freed after a court granted him bail, but controversy ensued amid allegations that he was arrested by paramilitary rangers after they pressured provincial chief Mushtaq Mehar to sign orders for Safdar's arrest. The senior officers have said they want to go on earned leave “to come out of the shock of the unfortunate incident”.
“The recent episode of registration of FIR against Capt (R) Safdar in which police high command has not only been ridiculed and mishandled, but all ranks of Sindh police have been demoralised and shocked. In such stressful situations it is quite difficult for me to discharge my duty in a professional manner,” the letters by the officers read.
Karachi events endorse our narrative “State above the State”;— Nawaz Sharif (@NawazSharifMNS) October 20, 2020
You ridiculed mandate of provincial govt;
Trampled on sanctity of family privacy;
Abducted senior police officers to extort orders;
Defamed our Armed Forces;
Addl IGP’s letter proves that you subverted the Constitution pic.twitter.com/NWZ6RAGDRl
Reports said Pakistan's army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered an investigation into allegations that Sindh police chief Mushtaq Mahar was abducted by army troops to force him to order Safdar’s arrest.
In a statement, the military said that the army chief ordered the military commander in Karachi to begin a probe into the accusation.
Unconfirmed information posted by The International Herald on Twitter said a “civil war” had broken out in Karachi after Sindh Police and Pakistan Army exchanged fire. It further reported that 10 Karachi police officers had died in the clashes. But Pakistan’s leading newspapers Dawn carried no such reports.
Earlier, the Army chief had directed the Karachi Corps Commander to "immediately inquire into the circumstances" to determine the facts and file a report as soon as possible, according to a statement issued by the military's media wing.
“Taking notice of Karachi incident, the COAS has directed Karachi Corps Commander to immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible,” a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
Bilawal appeal for probe
The statement came after PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressed a press conference, demanding that the Army chief and the ISI chief should probe the matter as the paramilitary Frontier Corps, controlled by the Army, was accused of forcing the police to arrest Safdar.
The incident left the provincial government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) red faced as the couple was their guest in Karachi where the PPP chief and Maryam had jointly addressed a political gathering against the government on Sunday night.
Bilawal in a press conference told reporters that all top officers of Sindh Police were wondering "who were the people who surrounded" the Sindh police chief's house in the early hours of Monday and took him to an unspecified location before Safdar was arrested.
He also demanded to know the identities of "the two people who went inside the IG's house" and where they allegedly took the police chief at around 4 am.
Bilawal’s presser came after the PPP which hosted the PDM's rally found itself in an embarrassing position when police moved in late night on Sunday and arrested Safdar.
Later, the Army chief also called Bilawal over the telephone to discuss the Karachi incident, according to a tweet by the PPP.
"The Chairman PPP expressed his appreciation to the COAS for taking prompt notice of the Karachi incident and his assurance of conducting a transparent inquiry on the incident," it added.
(With PTI inputs)