KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – The Pakistani army has ordered an investigation into the alleged kidnapping of a provincial police chief, said the military’s public relations wing on Tuesday, following protests over the incident.
The investigation, ordered by the country’s military chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, comes after local politicians alleged that the top official of the Sindh province police, Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar, had been kidnapped on Monday by paramilitary forces, who forced him to sign an order to arrest a soldier. opposition leader.
Opposition leader Muhammad Safdar, a member of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party, was arrested on Monday following protests in Karachi, the capital of the southern province of Sindh.
Last week, the PML-N and an alliance of opposition parties staged nationwide protests against Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government and accused the military of meddling in Pakistani politics – an accusation the military denies.
Safdar, the son-in-law of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was among those leading the protests.
The Sindh government, where the Sindh police operates, said it did not order Safdar’s arrest and that police had been pressured to take such action.
“The police chief’s phone was confiscated. He was taken to the sector commander’s office and asked to sign an arrest warrant, “Maryam Nawaz, Safdar’s wife and daughter Sharif told media on Monday. Mahar was reportedly allowed to leave on Monday after signing an arrest warrant.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, whose Pakistan People’s Party governs Sindh, publicly called on the army and intelligence chief to investigate the matter, saying the incident had “crossed the red line”.
Separately, dozens of police officers in the province all applied for leave on Tuesday to protest Mahar’s alleged kidnapping.
Following the announcement of the investigation, Sindh police said in a tweet that Mahar had decided to postpone his own request for leave and ordered his officers to put their leave application aside, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Edited by Gibran Peshimam, Euan Rocha and Peter Cooney