- Forced entry and arresting without an FIR
There is no doubt that the recent actions of Captain (r) Safdar, PML-N supremo Mian Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law and Maryam Nawaz’s husband, are reprehensible. The outrage over the incident, captured in a video showing Safdar charging up a crowd of PML-N workers to chant ‘vote ko izzat do’ (respect the vote) from inside Mazar-e-Quaid on Sunday prior to the PDM’s rally in Karachi, is understandable. The Quaid’s mausoleum is no place for political sloganeering and is a condemnable offence that is punishable by law, but the manner in which Safdar was arrested has exposed a new level of high handedness on part of the government against the opposition and sets a dangerous precedent that will lead to further heightening of the political temperature in the country that is already at boiling point. Although Safdar has now been released on bail, his arrest was made without any FIR registered against him and, according to a tweet by his wife Maryam Nawaz, was taken from the hotel room they were staying at after police broke down the door. Because the PPP runs Sindh, it would be safe to assume that the IG Police Sindh would think twice before arresting a senior member of one of their closest allies, the PML-N, that too in such a forceful manner. It would also be irrational for the PPP to direct the Sindh Police to move forward with the arrest at this juncture in the PDM’s anti-government movement. There are also unverified reports that the IGP Sindh was made to issue the arrest orders by certain quarters and if there is even the slightest bit of truth to these rumors, it displays just how little pressure the PPP is able to consume when push comes to shove.
Whatever the case may be, the PDM, that is gearing up for its third show in Quetta has been sent a strong message: arrests can and will be made whenever and wherever required. With NAB cases registered against most if not all PDM leaders and this new possibility of ‘arrest-at-will’ without formal charges being framed, the coming months are surely going to test the opposition’s resolve in putting up a fight against the government, let alone ‘sending them packing before year end’.