FIR against Capt Safdar over mausoleum incident 'fake', police tell Karachi court

Published November 9, 2020
PML-N leader Mohammad Safdar was arrested from his hotel in Karachi last month after the registration of the FIR. — DawnNewsTV/File
PML-N leader Mohammad Safdar was arrested from his hotel in Karachi last month after the registration of the FIR. — DawnNewsTV/File

Police have declared the first information report (FIR) registered against PML-N leader retired Capt Mohammad Safdar for 'violating the sanctity' of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's mausoleum in Karachi as fake in the charge sheet submitted to a local court on Monday.

The investigation report concluded that neither the complainant, Waqas Khan, nephew of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Haleem Adil Sheikh, joined the investigation nor was the veracity of his claims established during the probe, which showed that he was not present at the mausoleum when the alleged offence took place.

Safdar, who is the husband of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, was taken into custody by police on the morning of October 19 from a hotel where the couple was staying during their visit to Karachi for the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement’s public gathering held in the city a day earlier.

Editorial: If true, the circumstances surrounding Safdar's arrest indicate the rule of law is in absolute peril

Hours later, he was granted bail by a magistrate's court against a surety of Rs100,000, with the Sindh government alleging that the federal government had forced the provincial police to carry out the arrest in a bid to create a rift in the PDM, the 11-party anti-government alliance which has the PPP and PML-N on its forefront.

According to the FIR, Safdar, Maryam and a cohort of their supporters violated the sanctity of the Quaid's mausoleum by creating a ruckus and chanting fiery political slogans inside. They were also accused of intimidating people.

Earlier, the prosecution had pointed out discrepancies in the previous charge sheet, noting that the investigation officer neglected to record statements of the independent witnesses available on the spot where the alleged offence took place.

It said that the IO failed to get required approval from his senior officers before submitting the charge sheet and he neither attached the complaint moved by the administration officer of the mausoleum board nor recorded his statement.

However, the prosecution later approved a new, amended charge sheet. It wrote that the offences would be tried under the Quaid-i-Azam's Mazar (Protection and Maintenance) Ordinance, 1971, if the same complaint is routed through the concerned SHO on the application of the mausoleum’s administrator.

On the applicability of the Pakistan Penal Code, it said: “We are of [the] firm opinion that despite efforts of IO, [the] complainant failed to join the investigation and preparation of memo of site inspection. Also absence of the complainant on the date and time is established with the CCTV footages and CDR collected by the IO.”

District public prosecutor Zainab Hamirani and deputy public prosecutor Arif Sitai wrote in the scrutiny note that they agreed with the IO that there was no evidence available to establish the offences and he had rightly presented the report under B (false) class.

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