General Qamar Bajwa
General Qamar Bajwa

Murmurs about a "civil war" have spread across Pakistan after reports suggested that Pakistan army troops had kidnapped the Sindh police chief. Following the reports, Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered an inquiry. At the same time, visuals shared on social media suggest that violent clashes have broken out in some areas.

A blast in a building opposite Karachi University on Wednesday has only intensified the confusion on Twitter. At least three people have been killed and several others injured in the explosion. While the nature and reasons behind the blast is yet to be ascertained, many have begun linking the two, further intensifying the Twitter outcry.

Why is the Pakistan Army fighting with the Sindh Police?

To understand how the current state of affairs came about, we have to go back a few days, to when the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) protested against the 'puppet' government of Prime Minister Imran Khan and demanded his resignation. The PDM is a joint opposition alliance and many have rallied behind it, with thousands participating in the Karachi rally.

Soon after this, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz's husband Safdar Awan was arrested from his hotel room. He was later released on bail. Hours earlier, the PML-N vice-president had lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan and the PTI government. PML-N leader and spokesman for Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz's and former Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair had purportedly said that the IGP Sindh was 'kidnapped' by Rangers who forced him to file an FIR for Safdar's arrest. As per the voice message attributed to him, the inspector general of police was kidnapped and forced to register the FIR against Maryam, her husband Safdar and 200 others for violating the sanctity of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's mausoleum. When they (police) refused to do that, Rangers kidnapped [the IGP]," Zubair said.

The arrest as well as the allegations surrounding it has provoked massive backlash. Pakistan People's Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari urged General Bajwa and ISI Director General, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, to probe the circumstances that led to the incident. According to Bilawal, several top Sindh Police officers were "resigning or going on leave" as the incident has become a "question of their honour".

Reports on Wednesday suggest that almost all police officers in Sindh Police have applied for leave in protest against the humiliation meted out to the Sindh IGP Mushtaq Mehr, during the PML-N leader Safdar Awan's arrest saga. Almost the entire top brass of the police, including three Additional IGs, 25 DIGs, 30 SSPs and dozens of SPs, DSPs and SHOs across Sindh, tendered leave applications, as a protest against the "resentment and heartache caused to all ranks of the force" by the unfortunate incident of October 18/19.

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