Capt Safdar arrested for violating sanctity of Mazar-e-Quaid

By: News Desk      Published: 10:35 AM, 19 Oct, 2020
Capt Safdar arrested for violating sanctity of Mazar-e-Quaid

Sindh police Monday arrested Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Captain (retd) Safdar Awan for violating the sanctity of the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah, 24News TV reported.

A case was registered against PML-N leaders including PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, her husband Capt (R) Safdar Awan and 200 others at the Brigade Police Station for chanting slogans at the Mazar-e-Quaid.

Maryam Nawaz gave the news in a tweet saying “Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt. Safdar.”

She also retweeted a video claiming that the police forcefully entered her hotel room to arrest her husband.

The video retweeted by Maryam on Twitter shows the broken door of Karachi hotel from where Captain Safdar was arrested on Monday morning.

On Sunday ahead of Pakistan Democratic Movement’s second power show in Karachi, Maryam along with the senior leadership and a large number of workers went inside the hallway in Quaid's mausoleum to offer fateha and lay a floral wreath. As per the tradition, a qari recited verses from the Holy Quran and Maryam and a few others offered fateha inside the grilled premises.

As soon as the fateha ended, PML-N workers who were standing outside that iron grill in the same hall shouted slogans in favour of Maryam. Capt Safdar signalled them, apparently to stop them from raising that particular slogan at the grave of Quaid-i-Azam, and started chanting vote ko izzat do slogan that too was against the protocol of the mausoleum.

While Maryam and other leadership stayed silent, Safdar kept on chanting another slogan, ‘long live mother of the nation’, and the crowd responded in an emotional manner. The scene lasted a couple of minutes and Maryam along with others left the premises.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar also tweeted the video and, in a strong-worded statement, demanded the PML-N to apologise to the nation for “disrespecting the sanctity of the Quaid’s mausoleum”.

The move was met by a fierce reaction by 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.

The police lodged a case on the complaint of a citizen at Karachi Brigade police station. Capt Safdar went to the Police Station chanting slogans of “Vote Ko Izaat Dou.” He has been shifted to Aziz Bhatti police station where former governor Sindh, PML-N lawyers and a large number of PML-N supporters have been gathered to protest the arrest.

The Quaid’s mausoleum is maintained and protected under a special law, “The Quaid-i-Azam’s Mazar (Protection and Maintenance) Ordinance, 1971”, which prohibits all kinds of demonstrations and political activities within the premises.

It states that “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 bars from doing any act or behaving in any manner which is derogatory to the sanctity and dignity. 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.

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood in a tweet said he was not expecting it (arrest of Capt Safdar) but he was glad that Sindh Police has enforced the law and arrested him.

“He committed a crime at the Mazar e Quaid yesterday and the law must take its course,” he added.

He also put the onus of the arrest on Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah saying for once Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah has done his duty by ordering the arrest of Capt Safdar through the Sindh Police.

However, spokesperson of Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif, Zubair said Capt Safdar has been arrested in reaction to the successful rallies of the PDM.

He said that it was a conspiracy to defame the government and alleged that Federal government has pressurised the Sindh Police to take the action.

He said CM Murad Ali Shah said he was not aware of any such action of the police. Zubair said he was a former governor of the province burt despite that he was not allowed to enter the police station.

Zubair said wrong charges have been framed against Capt Safdar including murder threat and including such sanctions in the FIR was wrong and even their lawyers are not being allowed to enter the police station.  

Zubair said PML-N will respond politically not only in Karachi but in the whole country if the case was not withdrawn against Capt Safdar.

Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Education & Labour Saeed Ghani in a tweet agreed that Capt Safdar’s actions at Mazar-e-Quaid were not appropriate but also condemned the way Karachi police have arrested him.

He said Capt Safdar was not arrested on the directions of the Sindh government and the step was an effort to create difference among PDM and they would make such attempts unsuccessful.