October 27th, 2020
In a petition, veteran human rights activist I. A Rehman has approached the Supreme Court for the establishment of a judicial commission over the controversy of the alleged abduction of Sindh Inspector General of Police on October 19.
The controversy erupted after opposition leaders claimed that the Sindh IGP was abducted from his home at night and forced to issue arrest orders for Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar, husband of PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, in a case of alleged desecration of the sanctity of the Quaid’s mausoleum by raising slogans inside the premises on October 18.
According to information, in the early hours of October 19, the police had barged into the hotel room where Maryam and Safdar were staying. The couple were in Karachi to attend a public gathering of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement on October 18. The abduction claims gained credence when the IGP and other police officials submitted leave applications citing demoralization caused by alleged interference in police affairs.
According to the petition filed by I.A Rehman, Salima Hashmi, Jibran Nasir and Muhammad Tahseen in Islamabad on October 27, the Supreme Court has been pleaded to declare that the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence and Pakistan Rangers have no jurisdiction and legal authority to interfere into the affairs of the Sindh IGP. Secondly, the petitioners have requested the court to restrain the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence and Pakistan Rangers from interfering in the affairs of the Sindh police chief office.
The petitioners have also called upon the apex court for the constitution of a broad-based judicial commission to investigate whether the Sindh IGP was kidnapped and detained on October 19 and was forced to issue arrest orders in a first information report against opposition leader Captain Safdar. Besides, the commission should identify persons and institutions responsible for illegal acts if the investigation proves that the IGP was abducted and forced to issue orders.
The commission should recommend legal actions including but not limited to administrative proceedings against any or all persons involved in illegal and mala fide acts, the petitioners said. The commission should recommend future reforms in order to avoid such illegal and mala fide acts, said the petition.
“The kidnapping and detention of the Respondent No.5 (‘IGP’) and the illegal and malafide interference in a criminal investigation involves grave issues of fundamental rights including but not limited to issues of provincial autonomy, an effective police force, which is only possible if it is autonomous from extraneous influences, and the grave threat to the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution,” read the petition.
Opposition leaders, lawyers and human rights activists have widely condemned the interference in the policing affairs in Sindh. The Sindh government has set up an inquiry committee to investigate the incident. The Chief of Army Staff, Gen Qamar Bajwa, has directed the Karachi Corps Commander to hold an inquiry into the matter. In a statement, the Sindh Bar Council had also called upon the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the controversy.