IG âkidnappingâ and dramatic conflict in Pakistan
Dhaka, November 13: The recent mass uprising against the military in the wake of the abduction of a top police officer in Pakistan's Sindh province is believed to have created the most crisis in the two-year rule of the Imran Khan government.
A group of paramilitary Rangers abducted Inspector General of Police (IGP) South Sindh Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar from his Karachi home and forced him to sign an arrest warrant for opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and spokesman Muhammad Safdar Awan, local media reported.
Safdar is the son-in-law of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif.
Opposition groups called for a boycott of Prime Minister Imran Khan's administration in Sindh province. It was led by Safdar. There were also slogans against the army. Safdar was arrested after the procession on that charge. On the same day, however, Safdar also got bail in the court.
Following this unprecedented incident of abduction of IG, there were massive police protests in Sindh, which took the form of mutiny.
After Safdar's arrest, all the top police officials in the province went on strike in protest, and their subordinates took to the streets. There were also reports of exchanges of fire between the army and police.
Unconfirmed sources said 10 people were killed in the clashes. Although the news was not officially acknowledged, media quoted Islamabad sources as saying that a civil war-like situation had arisen.
In a tweet, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari questioned the role of the army and ISI in the incident and ordered an inquiry by the country's army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The PPP government in Sindh province has also ordered another investigation.
It has been said that Sindh police did not agree to arrest Safdar, but the Pakistan Rangers kept putting pressure on the IG to arrest him. Even then, Mahar did not agree and was abducted and taken to the office of Pakistan Rangers.
Home Minister Brigadier (retd) Ejaz Shah, however, said in a statement that the IGP of Sindh was not abducted, but drove out in his own car.
Although Prime Minister Imran Khan has described the whole incident as a "comedy", it will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications politically and administratively.
It is certain that this matter and what happened around him will not end in the near future.
There are three things in the whole matter- 1) conflict between two organisations 2) unprecedented police mutiny and 3) political consequences.
According to sources, these three issues will be investigated. On the other hand, a committee of Sindh ministers will investigate the role of the local leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. The inquiry will also look into whether the central government was directly involved in the whole incident.
However, Prime Minister Imran Khan has downplayed the incident. "I believe it's a joke. I laugh whenever I think of this incident," he said in an interview with a local TV channel.
Now it is very important to know who forced the IGP to arrest Safdar and make an FIR against him and why? What exactly happened on the morning of October 19? Another important factor in the investigation is the joint response of top police officials in Sindh - a total of 60 high-ranking police officers, including the Additional IGP, went on leave to protest.
The investigation of the army officers will see under what circumstances the IGP of Sindh and other high-ranking police officers went on a silent retreat and the IGP refused to go to his office.
The investigation will also look into whether the police mutiny was a normal reaction or a politically motivated one. Several Union ministers, including Information Minister Shibli Faraj, have already blamed the incident on dishonesty on the part of Bilwal's party and the Sindh provincial government.
If what happened to one IGP is true, then it will happen to another in the coming days. Institutional conflict or one organisation infringing on the rights of another organisation is not only a bad example, it also has a bad effect.
Therefore, it is very important to investigate the truth of the incident and its causes through an impartial investigation.