Islamabad, Nov 10 (PTI) The Pakistan Army on Tuesday said the security officials who arrested deposed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law, Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar, from a hotel room in Karachi last month have been suspended for acting 'overzealously.' Safdar was arrested on October 18 for raising slogans and violating the sanctity of the mausoleum of Pakistan's founder M A Jinnah.
However, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of 11 Opposition parties, had decried the detention, saying the government was trying to scuttle the much-publicised anti-government protest planned later that month.
Though Safdar was released on bail on the same day, the Pakistan People's Party demanded to know who had given the arrest orders.
Subsequent reports stated Sindh Police Chief Mushtaq Mahar was forcibly taken from his residence by Paramilitary Rangers and was pressured to register a case and order the arrest of Safdar.
The Rangers were widely criticised for 'the arbitrary actions', forcing Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa to institute a probe.
The Army's media division, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), on Tuesday said the court of inquiry has been completed and the officers involved in the act of arresting Safdar have been suspended.
'The court of inquiry has established that on the night of October 18 and 19, officers from Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and ISI sector Headquarters, Karachi, were considerably seized with the fall out of the desecration of Mazar-e-Quaid,” the probe report said, adding that the officers were under increasing public pressure to ensure prompt action.
“Assessing the response of police authorities against this developing yet volatile situation to be slow and wanting, in a charged environment, the concerned officers decided to act, rather overzealously,' the ISPR said.
The report said the officers should have acted prudently and could have avoided creating an unwarranted situation where there was misunderstanding between the two state institutions -- the police and the Army.
'Based on the recommendations of the court of inquiry, it has been decided to remove the concerned officers from their current assignments for further departmental proceedings and disposal at GHQ,' the ISPR statement said.
Reacting to the ISPR's statement, former premier Sharif said junior officers were being sacrificed to save the “real culprits”.
“Inquiry report on Karachi incident is a cover-up scapegoating juniors & shielding the real culprits. Report ‘Rejected’,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, PDM spokesman Mian Iftikhar Hussain termed the development 'a victory of the democratic forces'.
'Now those responsible should be brought to justice. PDM will hold further consultations regarding this,' he said.
Similarly, Pakistan People Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said it was the sacking of paramilitary officials was “good news” and that it would help create trust between various institutions of the country. PTI SH IND