Pakistan army to probe troops' role in arrest of politician

Pakistan army to probe troops' role in arrest of politician

Mohammad Safdar leaves after a court granted him bail
Mohammad Safdar, centre, son-in-law of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, leaves after a court granted him bail, in Karachi, Pakistan on Oct. 19, 2020. (Photo: AP/Fareed Khan)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's army chief on Tuesday (Oct 20) ordered an investigation into allegations that a provincial police chief was kidnapped by army troops to force him to order the arrest of the son-in-law of exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

In a statement, the military said army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa ordered the military commander in the port city of Karachi to begin a probe into the accusation.

The development comes a day after Sharif's son-in-law, Mohammad Safdar, was briefly arrested after opposition parties held a rally protesting the administration of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Safdar was freed after a court granted him bail, but controversy ensued amid allegations he was arrested by paramilitary Rangers after they pressured provincial chief Mushtaq Mehar to sign orders for Safdar's arrest.

Neither the Rangers nor Mehar have commented, but some police officers angered over Mehar's treatment have applied for a leave of absence. Officials say police had initially refused to arrest Safdar.

While at the tomb, Safdar led a crowd in chanting: “Give respect to the vote!” That slogan is viewed in Pakistan as criticism of the country’s military, which ruled Pakistan directly or indirectly for most of its history.

Safdar's father-in-law, Sharif, also has had a long, uneasy relationship with the military. Sharif served as Pakistan’s prime minister three times. A court in 2017 ousted him from power over corruption allegations. He has been staying in London since November after being allowed to receive medical treatment abroad.

Source: AP/ec