KARACHI: Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mushtaq Mahar, along with other police officials, had submitted a formal request for leave after the “stressful situation” of Captain (r) Safdar Awan’s arrest a day earlier, but now the police chief has deferred his leave and has asked his officers to do the same.
The police chief’s decision to defer his leave until the conclusion of the inquiry into Safdar’s arrest was taken “in the larger national interest”, and he has asked his officers to follow suit and hold off on their leaves for another 10 days, pending the conclusion of the inquiry.
Earlier, the IGP, at least two additional inspectors general, seven deputy inspectors general and six senior superintendents of Sindh police applied for leave in order to “come out of […] shock” caused by the “episode of registration of FIR against Capt (R) Safdar”.
“In such a stressful situation, it is quite difficult for me to discharge my duty in a professional manner,” the applications — all of which were identical — read.
They said that the handling of the First Information Report (FIR) had lead to the police force in Sindh being “humiliated and manhandled”. Furthermore, they mentioned that the ranks of the police force have been demoralised after this incident.
In a series of tweets, the Sindh Police said, “The unfortunate incident that occurred on the night of 18/19 October caused great heartache and resentment within all ranks of Sindh Police.”
“As a result, IG Sindh decided to proceed on leave and subsequently all ranks decided that they would also apply for leave to protest the humiliation meted out to Sindh police. This was a spontaneous and heartfelt reaction and made on an individual rather than a collective basis,” it said.
“because every single member of the department felt an acute sense of disrespect. Sindh police is immensely grateful to the Army Chief for realising the sense of hurt that prevailed within a uniformed force, and for promptly ordering an inquiry into the matter,” it added.
“which he has also assured will be impartial in order to restore the prestige of Sindh police. Sindh Police is also grateful to the chairman of the PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the honourable CM Sindh for coming to the IG House and showing solidarity with the police leadership,” it further said.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz commended the move. “I salute the Sindh Police!” she said in a tweet.
She also said that it was “heartening to see civilians breaking shackles of fear, standing up for supremacy of constitution & reclaiming their long lost rights. The conspiracy & conspirators stand badly exposed”.
The PML-N VP also attached a quote of the Quaid to encourage them to not “fall victim to any pressure”.
Similarly, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said during a presser that the police officers were going on leave because they were disrespected “not by the chief minister, but from somewhere else”, adding that the PPP stood with the police department.
Later, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa took notice of the incident. While the premier summoned the Sindh governor to Islamabad, the army chief held talks with the PPP chief, and directed the Karachi Corps commander to hold an immediate inquiry to determine the facts of the incident.
The aforementioned FIR pertains to Safdar’s arrest for violation of the sanctity of the Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazar.