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Wahab asks MQM-P to leave govt instead of protesting against census

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Sindh government spokesperson addressing a press conference in Karachi, on December 25, 2020. — YouTube

KARACHI: Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said Friday that the MQM-P, instead of coming out on the streets, should leave the federal government.

His comments came after MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui threatened the government to take to the streets if their demand to reject the 2017 census was not met.

Siddiqui had cited inaccuracies in the census result, saying that the population of Sindh's urban centres were shown to be 25% less than their actual count.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Wahab spoke on several matters, including the Captain (retd) Safdar's arrest, census, and the PTI leaders involvement in the Karachi incident.

Seaking about the census, he claimed that he could prove that the province's population was inaccurately counted and that Sindh would write a letter to the federal government in this regard.

"The federal cabinet is making unconstitutional decisions during Imran Khan's rule," he said.

Wahab said that people should be careful while speaking about Inspector-General Sindh as it is a credible designation, adding that Mushtaq Mehar "was not abducted."

He said that PTI MPA Raja Azhar had filed an FIR against Captain (retd) Safdar, adding that the country has a clear-cut law regarding the sanctity of Mazar-e-Quaid and a report in relation to the matter was also submitted before the cabinet.

Wahab said the police had raised a legal point, saying that the application should be submitted to a magistrate instead of police, after which PTI leaders tried to submit another petition but the police rejected it once again.

"Under the circumstances, the attitude of PTI members was inappropriate, Wahab said.

The spokesperson added that the report of the Karachi incident was submitted to the provincial cabinet within 30 days but it was only approved yesterday.

Citing the report, Wahab said that the federal government and PTI leaders "used the incident for politicking."

"They agreed with the police report that the FIR was false, so the court dismissed it," he said.

The spokesperson said that the prayer leader, who was present at the shrine, also told the police that such an incident did not take place.

Speaking further, Wahab said that in the video, it could be seen that several PTI leaders were present at the police station and a key federal minister also reached there to pressurise the police.

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Wahab maintained that Sindh would write a letter to the federal government, where they would highlight that PTI leaders had interfered with police work.

"The police came under pressure and registered the FIR, while it was the job of the investigation officer to analyse things and then register the FIR," he said.

What did the report state?

A ministerial committee probing the arrest of Capt (retd) Mohammad Safdar Awan found that the Sindh Police was pressurised by the federal government and PTI MPAs to take action against the PML-N leader.

On October 22, the Sindh government had established the ministerial committee to investigate the arrest of PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz’s husband after the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) jalsa in Karachi and the "alleged mishandling of the highest level of police”.

The matter was also probed by the armed forces on the directives of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa. After the inquiry, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced the removal of some officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan Rangers Sindh from their current assignments for acting “overzealously”.

The Sindh committee on Thursday presented its report before the provincial cabinet. The findings accuse federal ministers and local lawmakers belonging to PTI of pressurising the police into registering a case against Awan for raising political slogans in the premises of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s mausoleum.

The report said hooliganism within the mausoleum is a case whose cognizance should be taken up by a magistrate and not the police. But the police was forced to act due to pressure by the federal government and the PTI MPAs to lodge a case against Awan over a ‘fake complaint’ filed by a person who was not even present at the mausoleum.

The report said matter of Sindh IGP Mushtaq Mahar had already been settled through the action taken by the army chief.

Although the cabinet decided to not make the report public, it would appraise the federal government about the interference of its ministers and PTI legislators in Sindh.

Captain Safdar's arrest

Retired Captain Safdar — Nawaz Sharif's son-in-law and Maryam Nawaz's spouse — was arrested in October by Sindh Police for, among other charges, allegedly violating the sanctity of Quaid-e-Azam's Mazar (also called Mazar-e-Quaid).

The sanctity of the Quaid's Mazar is protected by The Quaid-i-Azam’s Mazar (Protection and Maintenance) Ordinance, 1971, which explicitly forbids political activities within the premises of the mausoleum.

"No person shall organise, convene or take part in any meeting or demonstration or procession or engage in political activity within the premises of Quaid's mausoleum or within a distance of ten feet from the outer boundary thereof," reads the law on the matter.


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