A Judicial Magistrate yesterday approved Captain (retired) Safdar’s bail in the case pertaining to the “violation of the sanctity of Mazar-e-Quaid”, and instructed him to submit surety bonds worth Rs100,000.
Mazar-e-Quaid is the mausoleum of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who is popularly referred to as the Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader) and remains the most revered figure in the country’s history.
Safdar is the husband of Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, a frontline leader in the ongoing opposition campaign to bring down the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Safdar wa arrested yesterday morning from a hotel he was staying in with Maryam after he was booked for violating the sanctity of the Mazar-e-Quaid. He was presented before a judicial magistrate in the afternoon where he was granted bail.
“Mariyum Aurangzeb has just informed me that Captain Safdar has been released on bail,” said Maryam quoting her aide during a news conference, flanked by Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazal chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also the president of the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
“I and Captain Safdar will go from Karachi together,” Maryam said after a lengthy news conference in which she flayed the federal government.
Safdar was earlier kept at the Aziz Bhatti Police Station before being presented before the magistrate.
Recalling the events of the night at the news conference, Maryam said she and her husband slept after Fajr (morning prayers) as they had come late from last night’s PDM rally.
“At around 6:15am someone started banging on our door. We were sleeping,” said Maryam. The PML-N vice president said that she felt that the noise could be due to construction activities happening nearby.
“I heard the same noise after one or two minutes. I told Safdar that someone is banging on our door,” said Maryam. She added that when her husband opened the door, police officials outside told him that they were here to arrest him.
The PML-N leader said her husband told the police he will change and come out. She added that they heard that someone was breaking down the room’s door again.
“They broke the security latch and came inside the room. I was in bed and Safdar said do not come inside, I will come outside. I’m taking my medicine,” Maryam quoted him as saying.
Maryam said the police however, ignored his request and arrested him anyway.
The PML-N leader was taken into custody after he was booked in a case pertaining to the violation of the sanctity of the Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazar where a day earlier he had shouted the slogan “Vote ko izzat do (Honour the vote)” and urged people to join him.
Party workers and supporters responded to Safdar’s call and chanted along for an extended period of time as Maryam looked on.
The move was met by a fierce reaction by the federal government representatives, who not only demanded an apology, but approached the police, asking them to initiate legal action against all those who participated in the act.
Jinnah’s mausoleum is protected by a set of special laws that prohibit political activities within its premises.
The police had filed a case on the complaint of a citizen at the Brigade Police Station yesterday and named Captain Safdar, Maryam Nawaz and 200 other unidentified people in the first information report.
While condemning the manner in which Sindh Police acted against the PML-N leader, senior PPP leader and provincial minister Saeed Ghani stated that the arrest had not been made on the direction of Sindh government.
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condemned the arrest, promising Maryam, that the Sindh government was holding an inquiry into the matter.
Speaking to Maryam over the telephone, he expressed solidarity with her and said that the way Safdar was arrested is “against the traditions of Sindh”.
He said the Sindh government was not informed about the arrest and that he had asked Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to investigate the arrest and take all measures to secure the PML-N leader’s release.
“What Captain Safdar did at the Mazar was not appropriate,” PPP minister Saeed Ghani conceded, but added that the arrest, “was an attempt to create differences among the PDM parties, which will be foiled”.
Reacting to the development, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Shahzad Akbar called the arrest a “publicity stunt” by opposition parties.
Taking to Twitter, Akbar reminded Maryam that “Sindh police is under [the] complete and direct control” of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, who is the PML-N’s ally these days.
“Either the arrest of your husband was staged by you n your new ally as publicity stunt or you’re working against each other STILL! Which one is it?”
Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi commended the Sindh police chief for taking a “quick action” against the “hooligans who disrespected Mazar-e-Quaid”.
The federal minister said that the law must take its course.
Jinnah’s mausoleum, which is declared “an historical monument of national importance” is maintained and protected under a special law.
The ordinance, “The Quaid-i-Azam’s Mazar (Protection and Maintenance) Ordinance, 1971”, prohibits all kinds of demonstrations and political activities within the premises.
It states: “No person shall organise, convene or take part in any meeting or demonstration or procession or engage in political: activity of any kind within the Quaid-i-Azam’s Mazar or within a distance of ten feet from the outer boundary thereof.”
It also prohibits carrying out any act or behaving in any manner which is derogatory to the sanctity and dignity of the mausoleum.
Under the ordinance, whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this ordinance shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
“An offence punishable under this ordinance shall be tried in a summary way in accordance with the provisions contained in sections 262 to 265 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898,” the law states.
Interestingly, the Sindh Police’s Digital Media Cell initially announced on Twitter that Safdar had been arrested “according to the law” and that the investigation against him will proceed with impartiality and according to the merits of the case, but then deleted the tweet, adding to confusion over the matter.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
The denouement to Bakhtawar’s day out
Covid positivity rate falls to 6%
A new flight on BRI horizon: film collaboration
Benazir’s daughter steals the show
PM blasts opposition for public health risk
Mammoth move: loneliest elephant heads to Cambodia after Cher campaign
Bakhtawar gets engaged in a private ceremony
PM taps Khalid Khurshid for GB chief minister
Trump would have won, if not for Covid fallout: PM