October 19th, 2020

By Shaukat Korai 


KARACHI

Following his dramatic arrest from the room of a five-star hotel in Karachi for allegedly desecrating the sanctity of the Quaid’s mausoleum on October 18, Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar, husband of Maryam Nawaz, has been released on bail.

Prior to the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s public gathering, Maryam Nawaz had gone to the mausoleum to pay homage to the country’s founder. In the footage shown on news channels and widely shared on social media, Safdar and PML-N workers were seen raising slogans inside the mausoleum, which evoked strong criticism from the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leaders and federal ministers.

According to details, in the evening, police lodged a first information (FIR) report against Safdar on the complaint of Waqas Ahmed, nephew of Haleem Adil Sheikh, the PTI parliamentary leader in Sindh.

Karachi police raided the hotel where Safdar was staying with his wife Maryam. According to a tweet by Maryam Nawaz, police had barged into the room to arrest her husband while the couple was sleeping.

After the arrest, police produced the PML-N leader before a court in Karachi. The court-ordered release of Capt (retd) Safdar on bail bonds of Rs100,000. Speaking to reporters after his release, Safdar said the case against him was unfounded and fabricated as they had just vowed to work for a strong Pakistan. He added that Fatima Jinnah had also been a victim of electoral theft back when she was running for elections. PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair alleged that the provincial police chief was held hostage in order to register the case in his absence.

Javed Mir, the lawyer of Safdar, said the case was fabricated and would be thrown out by the court in the next hearing. According to Mir, a citizen cannot lodge a complaint with police in this matter under the law. Former PML-N senator Nihal Hashmi said police flouted the law by raiding the hotel room of the couple.

On the other hand, the complainant’s lawyer said raising slogans inside the mausoleum was tantamount to insulting the founder of the nation. Upon the arrival of Safdar, party workers from the PML-N and the PTI chanted slogans against one another. Upon payment of bail bond in cash, Safdar was released from police custody and landed in Lahore on a flight from Karachi.

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