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ISI, Rangers officers involved in Karachi incident removed after inquiry: ISPR

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DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar speaking to media in this file photo.

RAWALPINDI: The court of inquiry established on the orders of the army chief to determine facts surrounding the Karachi incident has removed the “concerned” officers of Rangers and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from their “current assignments” after it was established they acted “over zealously” creating an “unwarranted situation” between the two state institutions, said the military’s media wing on Tuesday.

“Court of Inquiry on the orders of COAS pertaining to the issue of redress of Inspector General Police Sindh’s grievances, in the backdrop of 18 Oct 2020 Karachi incident, has been completed,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa had on October 20 directed Commander Karachi Corps to immediately inquire into the matter after the Sindh police chief and several senior officers of the provincial police force had sought extended leave from duty saying they had been left demoralised due to the circumstances surrounding the arrest of PML-N leader Capt Muhammad Safdar on October 19.

The ISPR said: “The Court of Inquiry has established that on night 18 / 19 Oct officers from Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and ISI sector Headquarters Karachi were considerably seized with the fall out of desecration of Mazar-e-Quaid.”

“They were under increasing public pressure to ensure prompt action as per the law,” said the statement.

The ISPR said that the “concerned” officers had acted “overzealously” in a “charged environment” due to the “slow and wanting” response by the police authorities.

“Based on the recommendations of the Court of Inquiry, it has been decided to remove the concerned officers from their current assignments for further departmental proceedings and disposal at GHQ,” the ISPR added.

It further added that the officers were indeed experienced enough to have acted more prudently and could have avoided creating an unwarranted situation that led to misunderstanding between the two state institutions.

Govt welcomes Army’s decision

Reacting to the ISPR statement, Minister for Information Shibli Faraz, who had earlier termed the incident a political gimmick by the PPP, appreciated the army chief for initiating the inquiry and implementing the recommendations given by the court of inquiry.

“We accept what happened. Since the issue concerned Quaid-e-Azam, they [security officials] acted emotionally, which I feel they should not have.”

“But the [Army] has given its decision and we welcome it,” he said.

When asked to comment on why the federal government had not taken the matter seriously enough, Faraz said it was a provincial issue. “The federal government had nothing to do with it. The Sindh government and institutions that operate in the province were responsible for it.”

“In our experience, the Sindh government politicises everything — be it the coronavirus or the wheat crisis. Hence, we had our reservations,” he stressed.

“Now that the ISPR has made its findings known, Sindh IG Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar should also investigate the ‘mutiny’ within the police.”

Bilawal welcomes ‘good news’

Meanwhile, Bilawal, during a rally in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Astore region, welcomed the “good news”.

“I have received the good news that the army chief’s investigation is complete and action has been taken,” Bilawal said.

“We welcome this step taken by the army chief,” he said, adding: “Such actions and decisions enhance the integrity of institutions.”

Bilawal said that such actions such as these are what democracy demands. “This is the democratic process. Whatever mistakes are made, must be investigated.”

“If anyone is at fault, action should be taken against him,” the PPP chairman said.

Bilawal said this is the beginning, and hoped such practices will continue. “Everyone has to work together for democracy and Pakistan,” he said.

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