On Monday PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman addressed a press conference in Karachi to discuss retired Captain Muhammad Safdar’s arrest that occurred some hours prior. Towards the end of the conference Maryam announced that she has just been informed by Marriyum Aurangzeb that Safdar has been granted bail. Safdar is due to attend a court hearing today.

Safdar, Maryam Nawaz’s husband, had been arrested earlier on Monday on charges of violating the sanctity of Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum by chanting the slogans of “vote ko izzat do,” the motto espoused by the anti-government Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). First information reports (FIRs) had been filed against Safdar, Maryam and 200 others. Opposition party workers and supporters had been in Karachi since Sunday, when the PDM’s second protest rally was conducted.

During the press conference, Maryam recalled the incident of the arrest, alleging that police had broken into her hotel room and arrested her husband by force. He had agreed to peacefully accompany the police and requested time to “change his clothes” and “take his diabetes medicines” but was denied the time, said Maryam. She stated that the police proceeded to break the door lock and carry Safdar by force.

Fazlur Rehman, leader of the PDM, added that “This is a government of force, of oppression which does not consider itself bound to the law and the Constitution.”

Maryam and Rehman maintained that they had been contacted by Bilawal Bhutto as well as Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, and asserted that the arrest was not carried out by their support.

Maryam alleged that the government is trying to cause divisions within the PDM through such incidents, but they would not be fazed by such attempts.

“Bilawal called me and he was very angry,” she stated. “Sindh Chief Minister also called me and said that he never expected that something like this would happen with me.

“I never thought even for a moment that PPP was behind this,” she clarified.

She further expressed her belief in the baselessness of the arrest, citing past incidents where PTI workers had also congregated at the Quaid’s mausoleum to no consequence.

She also maintained that nothing objectionable had been done, as the slogans raised at the mausoleum was non-partisan in nature and reflected the democratic morals espoused by Quaid-e-Azam himself.

She asked: “What is wrong with repeating Quaid-i-Azam’s stance at his mausoleum? What is wrong with Madar-i-Millat (mother of the nation) slogans?”

PPP’s Raja Pervez Ashraf, also present at the conference, called the manner of the arrest a “shameful act” and claimed that Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari had also condemned the incident. He stated that Bilawal had asked the Sindh Chief Minister to investigate the event.


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