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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Faisal Javed Khan said in the Senate on Monday that Sindh government was behind the arrest of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Captain (retd) Safdar Awan from a hotel in Karachi and that the federal government had nothing to do with the matter.

"This (arrest) has everything to with Sindh government," he said while speaking on the floor of the House during Senate session presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

"The Sindh government welcomed the PML-N leaders in a big way and chose a novel way to pay its homage to Capt Safdar," he said while taking a jibe at the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and its Sindh government, following the arrest of Safdar on Monday morning from a hotel in Karachi where he was staying, a day after the gathering organised by Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of opposition parties against federal government, in Karachi.

Condemning Captain (retd) Safdar's 'misadventures' at Mazar-e-Quaid, the senator said, "You (opposition) should be shameful for what he did at Mazar-e-Quaid. Not even a word of apology came from you for such a shameful display of disrespect at Mazar-e-Quaid, the final abode of the founder of Pakistan. Shame on you."

Criticising PDM's public gathering in Karachi earlier on Sunday, Khan said, "Surely it was great display of power. This was a big jalsa. Truth be told, it was an impressive show of power. Anything impressive must be appreciated whether it comes from government or opposition. But I am talking about Imran Khan's jalsa in Karachi in December 2011. What PDM staged in Karachi on Sunday was a tiny gathering." Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan accused former prime minister Nawaz Sharif of trying to instigate masses against their 'most beloved and respected Pakistan Army.'

Coming down hard on Sharif for his virtual address at the PDM public gathering in Gujranwala last week, the minister said, "No one has ever questioned the professional capability of Pakistan Army. Your statement that military should focus on defence and not indulge in politics is extremely condemnable. If military is not focussing on defence, then tell me who has made Pakistan's defence impregnable and invincible?"

The minister said Sharif and his family availed General (retd) Musharraf's NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) and fled from Pakistan for 10 years. "It is the same Musharraf who was nominated by Benazir Bhutto to be held responsible if anything happened to her but Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari gave him Guard of Honour and allowed him to leave Pakistan," he said.

"Mian sahib, you are architect of Dawn Leaks, Changa Manga politics and IJI (Islami Jamhori Ittehad). You are crying foul because your dirty tactics have failed to work this time."

Regarding the protests of Lady Health Workers (LHWs) and other government employees in Islamabad, the minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan has set up a high-powered committee to resolve their grievances as well as those of other government employees. Ali Muhammad Khan said he along with Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri and Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak held negotiations with LHWs and other protesting government employees and brought the issue into the notice of the PM following which he formed a high-powered committee.

Condemning Captain (retd) Safdar's arrest in Karachi Sindh, where her own party is in power, Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman said, "Federal government saying that we are not the followers of Quaid e Azam is ironic as they are the ones who are openly disrespecting the law and constitution. What they are doing is against the Quaid's message and actions. Slogans of democracy should not frighten anyone. PPP, Sindh government, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and all our party workers strongly condemn such arrests."

She added, "What kind of an arrest was this where door locks were broken to enter in a private space? What was the urgency? All lines are being crossed. What kind of democracy is this? Sindh government is holding an inquiry into the matter. We will not allow the federal government to do such acts in our name."

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader Atta-ur-Rehman said the matter involving the arrest of Captain (retd) Safdar be referred to the committee concerned.

He alleged that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sindh was 'kidnapped' on Sunday night and taken to home of additional IGP Sindh who was also kidnapped by 'unknown elements' who, he said forced the top police officials to get Safdar arrested. "This is a very serious matter that needs a thorough probe," he said.

Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar referred to an old video clip in which PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari accused Nawaz Sharif of conspiring to form greater Punjab. "When we see a former president of Pakistan levelling such a serious allegation against a three-time prime minister, the newcomers like me are left wondering who are these people-whom we entrusted the responsibility to run the affairs of this country?" he said. Senate would meet again today (Tuesday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020