PTI leader and Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi on Monday denied reports that Sindh inspector general of police (IGP) was "kidnapped and forced to register" a first information report (FIR) against PML-N's retired Captain Mohammad Safdar.
Taking to Twitter, Zaidi said: “M. Zubair selling nonsense narrative that CM Sindh told him IG was kidnapped & forced to register FIR. If this is true then CM Sindh must fire IG Sindh or resign himself as his orders were followed.”
Zaidi was referring to an audio message shared by a journalist on Twitter in which Zubair purportedly can be heard saying that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah told him the IGP was kidnapped and forced to register the FIR against Maryam Nawaz, her husband retired Captain Mohammad Safdar and 200 others for violating the sanctity of the Quaid's mausoleum.
Terming the alleged claim as "nonsense narrative", Zaidi said the Sindh government was trying to distance itself from the arrest and the FIR.
In the audio clip circulating on Twitter, Zubair, who was recently appointed as spokesman for PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam, purportedly said that CM Shah confirmed to him "they tried to put pressure on the Sindh Police first to arrest. When they refused to do that, Rangers kidnapped [the IG].
"This is what the chief minister told me [...] he [IGP] was picked up and taken to the sector commander's office where the additional IG was brought in and they were forced to issue orders," Zubair says in the clip being attributed to him.
Safdar was arrested early on Monday morning from a Karachi hotel where he and Maryam Nawaz were staying, she said in a message on Twitter.
"Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt Safdar," Maryam wrote.
While talking to reporters after the arrest, Zubair said he had talked to CM Shah and provincial minister Saeed Ghani and would reveal the facts before the public soon.
"The easiest way for Imran Khan is to arrest [Safdar] so the entire blame will fall on Sindh government and police," Zubair said.
Responding to allegations of state terrorism by the PML-N and Zubair, Zaidi questioned "if arresting a criminal is state terrorism, then what was Model Town massacre by police under Shehbaz when direct firing was done on pregnant women, children and elderly? Was that a training exercise?"
The minister also alleged that "certain elements" in the media and opposition were trying to confuse the issue.
"Instead of focusing on the crime that was committed, they are asking how Capt. Safdar was charged and arrested. Your nonsense won’t sell any more," he said.
The minister also lashed out at the provincial government after Sindh Police first shared on Twitter but later deleted a message which said that Safdar's arrest was done in accordance with the law and that the investigation will be impartial.
However, a couple of hours later, a similar tweet was shared again by Sindh Police on the social media website, which said that Safdar's arrest was made "according to law" and an "impartial" investigation will be carried out in the case.
Bilawal condemns arrest, says Sindh govt was not informed
For their part, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, whose party is in government in Sindh, and provincial minister Saeed Ghani have both distanced their government from the arrest.
In a statement, Bilawal condemned Safdar's arrest and said he was "shocked to hear about the incident".
"Talking to Maryam Nawaz Sharif over telephone, the PPP Chairman expressed complete solidarity with her, adding the manner in which the arrest was made is against the traditions of Sindh," the statement read.
It said the Sindh government "was not informed about the arrest" and that the PPP chief had asked the chief minister to investigate the incident fully and to take all measures to secure Captain Safdar’s release.