War of words over Safdar’s arrest in Karachi intensifies

Published October 23, 2020
Information Minister Shibli Faraz addresses the media in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV
Information Minister Shibli Faraz addresses the media in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb on Thursday called upon Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign after the CCTV camera footage of “law-enforcers breaking into Maryam Nawaz’s hotel room and violating her privacy” was made public.

Ms Aurangzeb said in a statement: “This footage is an irrefutable proof of Imran’s shamelessness, lawlessness and political vengeance… This is Imran’s true horrible face which has no regard for the respect and dignity of mothers, daughters and sisters of the nation… The privacy of a woman was violated without even any arrest warrant for her. Imran should be ashamed of himself and must resign.”

The former information minister said PML-N and the Pakistan Democratic Movement would not rest until all those responsible for this shallow and illegal act were taken to task.

She said the nation deserved to know the reasons behind this highhanded hooliganism and the intrusion into privacy in violation of the constitution.

She demanded that the names of all those visible in the footage be made public.

Earlier, PML-N leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said institutions such as the Inter-Services Intelligence and Pakistan Rangers took orders from the prime minister and hence the responsibility of the whole incident fell on Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

Marriyum asks Imran to resign after release of CCTV footage of hotel raid; ministers blast opposition for creating fuss on the issue

“This is the reality behind this incident [and] this is the reality that the country’s premier gave the order to violate privacy,” Mr Abbasi said at a news conference in Islamabad.

He said he had expected the courts to take suo motu notice of the incident.

PTI reaction

The PTI government ministers at the Centre and in Punjab castigated the opposition, mainly the PML-N, for creating fuss on the issue of Mr Safdar’s arrest to harm national institutions.

At his presser, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said the opposition had staged a drama on the issue after its failure in getting public response during the PDM’s rallies.

He said the Sindh chief minister had not stated facts about the issue in the provincial assembly session.

Adviser to the PM on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar said there was hooliganism and sloganeering at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam. Then some people went to the police station and filed a written application against Mr Safdar, he added.

He said maintaining law and order was the responsibility of the Sindh government after the 18th Amendment.

“Everybody knows who is giving orders to the Sindh police. We have to see who has benefited from the incident.”

The Sindh police, in a tweet, declared that the arrest was made according to law, he added.

Mr Shahzad said he failed to understand the arrest of Mr Safdar in a bailable offence.

Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan accused the PPP’s Sindh government and the provincial police chief of staging arrest of Mr Safdar and later trying to implicate Rangers in the “drama”.

He said the facts would be revealed after the inquiry ordered by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa was completed.

Rejecting the PML-N leaders’ claims of violation of sanctity of Chadar and Char Diwari, Mr Chohan claimed that Maryam Nawaz and her husband were in separate rooms when the latter was arrested.

He alleged that deposed premier Nawaz Sharif had struck a deal with the Indian establishment for the supply of high-grade iron from Afghanistan but the refusal by the then Frontier Works Organisation chairman to construct the required road led to his (Sharif’s) parting of ways with the Pakistan Army.

The minister, however, used a 2016 media clip of former president Asif Zardari and a column in a newspaper as evidence to support his claim, while responding to a question at a press conference in Lahore.

Mr Chohan claimed that Mr Sharif in his last tenure went to India to attend Narendra Modi’s oath-taking ceremony as premier and then struck a deal with Indian businessman Sajjan Jindal to facilitate supply of 1.8 billion tonnes of 60-grade iron from Afghanistan’s province Bamyan to India through Wagah border — to be used by the neighbouring country’s ordnance factories.

He said Mr Sharif returned from India, called the FWO chairman and directed him to prepare a PC-I for a road from Bamyan to Peshawar. However, he said, the FWO chairman reported back that the project was not feasible. “This refusal [by the FWO chairman] led to the clash between him [Sharif] and the Pakistan Army,” Mr Chohan alleged.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2020

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