Cocking a snook at the Pakistan Army, police officers in Karachi threatened to go on mass leave after the Sindh Police chief was allegedly kidnapped and forced to arrest former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law from his hotel room in Karachi.
Sources in Islamabad said that Pakistan was rapidly slipping into a civil war-like situation with the running feud between the opposition parties and the Army coming out in the open. “Civil war in Pakistan. Reported clashes between Karachi Police & Pak Army,” The International Herald tweeted as it also posted a video.
The report, however, could not be confirmed. “Heavy fire between Pak Army and Sindh Police in Karachi after Pak Army tried to take custody of a Superintendent of Sindh Police Md Aftab Anwar. 5 Pak Army officers died in firing,” another tweet read.
Sources said that Sindh IGP Mushtaq Mahar and at least two additional inspector generals, seven deputy inspector generals and six senior superintendents of Sindh Police on Tuesday applied for leave to "come out of the shock" over the "episode of registration of FIR against Captain Safdar Awan.’’ (The latter is the husband of Maryam Nawaz Sharif).
The arrest came just hours after Safdar Awan, the PML (N) Vice President, attacked Prime Minister Imran Khan's government at a massive rally of People's Democratic Movement -- an alliance of 11 opposition political parties which have joined hands. He was later released on bail.
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered an inquiry into Awan's arrest after Pakistan People's Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari questioned the Army and the ISI about the incident in a tweet. Pakistani media quoted Bilawal as alleging that the Sindh Police chief was abducted by the Pakistan Army and its intelligence wing for a few hours before Awan was arrested.
Bilawal insinuated that Pakistan military had pressurised the Sindh Police to act against Safdar Awan. After the sudden leave requests from senior police officers from across the Sindh province, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah reassured the government's support to the Sindh Police at every stage.