Pakistan minister Zaidi refutes reports that Sindh IGP kidnapped, forced to register FIR against Safdar Awan

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Karachi [Pakistan], October 19 (ANI): Pakistan Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi on Monday denied reports that Sindh inspector general of police (IGP) was "kidnapped and forced to register" an FIR against the Pakistani Muslim League (Nawaz) [PML (N)] leader Safdar Awan, the husband of Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader, Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

According to reports, Inspector General Sindh was kidnapped by Rangers at 4 am and added that additional IG "was already present" and were forced to issue the orders for the arrest of Safdar.

"Unfortunate incident. Sindh Govt informed PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair that IG Sindh was kidnapped by Rangers at 4 in the morning he was brought in sector commander's office where addnl IG was already present and were forced to issue the orders for the arrest of Cpt Rtd Safdar," read a tweet from the journalist Hamid Mir.

"Sindh Govt trying to distance themselves from the FIR & arrest of Capt. Safdar. M. Zubair selling nonsense narrative that CM Sindh told him IG was kidnapped & forced to register FIR. If this is true then CM Sindh must fire IG Sindh or resign himself as his orders were followed," Zaidi wrote on Twitter, as quoted by Dawn.

Zaidi referred to an audio message shared by a journalist on Twitter in which PML-N leader Zubair "purportedly can be heard" saying that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah told him the IGP was kidnapped and forced to register the FIR against Maryam Nawaz, her husband retired Captain Mohammad Safdar and 200 others for violating the sanctity of the Quaid's mausoleum.

He later termed the claim as a "nonsense narrative: adding that the Sindh government was "trying to distance themselves" from the arrest and the FIR.

"I demand that CM Sindh immediately & publicly reject Muhammad Zubair's comments attributed to him regarding the kidnapping of IG," the leader from the Imran Khan-led party wrote.

According to Dawn, in an audio clip, Zubair, who was recently appointed as a spokesperson for the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam, said that CM Shah confirmed to him that "they tried to put pressure on the Sindh Police first to arrest. When they refused to do that, Rangers kidnapped [the IG]."

"This is what the chief minister told me [...] he [IGP] was picked up and taken to the sector commander's office where the additional IG was brought in and they were forced to issue orders," Zubair says in the clip being attributed to him.

Safdar was arrested on Monday morning from Karachi where he and Maryam Nawaz were staying. "Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt Safdar," Maryam wrote on Twitter.

According to Dawn, Zubair said he had talked to CM Shah and provincial minister Saeed Ghani and would reveal the facts before the public soon.

"The easiest way for Imran Khan is to arrest [Safdar] so the entire blame will fall on Sindh government and police," Zubair said.

Speaking about the allegations of state terrorism by the PML-N and Zubair, Zaidi questioned "if arresting a criminal is state terrorism, then what was Model Town massacre by police under Shehbaz when direct firing was done on pregnant women, children and elderly? Was that a training exercise?"

He added, "Instead of focusing on the crime that was committed, they are asking how Capt. Safdar was charged and arrested. Your nonsense won't sell anymore," he said.

Pakistan People's Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and provincial minister Saeed Ghani have both "distanced their government from the arrest", Dawn reported. Quoting a statement, the PPP Chairman condemned the arrest and said he was "shocked to hear about the incident".

"Talking to Maryam Nawaz Sharif over the telephone, the PPP Chairman expressed complete solidarity with her, adding the manner in which the arrest was made is against the traditions of Sindh," the statement read.

It said the Sindh government "was not informed about the arrest" and that the PPP chief had asked the chief minister to investigate the incident fully and to take all measures to secure Captain Safdar's release. (ANI)