At least four police officers from Sindh’s Sakrand police station were arrested on Tuesday and two others were suspended after the provincial police chief took notice of cricketer Sohaib Maqsood’s allegations of bribery and extortion.
The latest development was confirmed to Dawn.com by DIG Shaheed Benizarabad District Pervaiz Chandio.
The incident near Sakrand came to public attention when the cricketer criticised the provincial police in a post on X (formerly Twitter), branding them as “corrupt.”
In his post on Monday night, Maqsood said that while travelling from Karachi to Multan by road, he was stopped by the police who demanded money.
However, in his post, the cricketer did not specify the exact location. Later, while speaking to Geo News, he clarified that the incident took place on an isolated road near Sakrand.
“We informed them that we are international cricketers heading to Multan after our match in Karachi, yet they took Rs8,000 from us before allowing us to proceed,” he claimed in the post.
Furthermore, Maqsood stated that the police also threatened to take them to the police station. He remarked, “We are fortunate to live in Punjab and not in Sindh.”
In a subsequent post, Maqsood mentioned being halted again at some distance even after allegedly paying the earlier amount when he was initially stopped by the police. He asserted: “Corruption is rampant in Sindh police.”
In response, Sindh Inspector General Raffat Raja directed Shaheed Benazirabad Police to hold an immediate inquiry into the matter. “Strict action must be taken against personnel involved in the incident,” the IG said in a statement.
Talking to Dawn.com, DIG Chandio said that four personnel involved in the incident had been arrested. “These officers were on patrol along a Sakrand road when the incident took place. They have confessed to charging cricketer Sohaib Maqsood Rs3,000 as a fine for using a fancy number plate and beam lights,” he said.
However, the DIG said it was not within the jurisdiction of regular police officers to levy fines as this responsibility fell under the purview of traffic police.
Furthermore, the DIG revealed that two senior officials from Sakrand police station, including a station house officer (SHO), had been suspended due to their negligence in the matter.
In response to the incident, the DIG said his team had forwarded images of the four patrolling officers to the cricketer, who had identified one of them.
Narrating the incident speaking to Geo News, Maqsood explained that after his team’s last match in the National T20 Cup in Karachi on Monday, where they did not qualify for the next round, he left Karachi with Aamir Yamin.
“I was travelling in a vehicle, and Yamin was with me at around midnight. We passed the toll plaza in Sindh, and after two kilometres, a pair of policemen at a lonely spot near Sakrand stopped us, asking for vehicle documents.”
The cricketer recounted that the officers then inquired about his use of high beam lights, warning a potential fine of Rs100,000. “I informed him that checking papers was not within their jurisdiction, and if traffic police were to stop us, they would typically impose a fine of up to Rs2,500.”
“He then threatened to take us to the police station, as we were travelling for the first time in Sindh, and after negotiation, we gave him Rs8,000,” Maqsood added. “This incident frightened us since it was nighttime and an isolated place.”
He then said his vehicle was stopped by police again after 30-40km, but they did not comply. “Instead, we stopped at a hotel in Sukkur, where we stayed overnight.”
He mentioned that the police had intercepted him approximately 68km before Moro, where the incident unfolded. “The police were rude, and when I requested to speak to one of their officers, their behaviour worsened.”
He stated that the intention behind the tweet was to shed light on the challenges the public faced when law enforcement personnel treated even known individuals badly.