ISLAMABAD - The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate on Tuesday said that the officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, responsible for the incident involving the Sindh IGP have been removed from their current assignments pending further departmental proceedings for acting “overzealously”.

The decision has been taken on the recommendations of the Court of Inquiry formed to inquire into the matter, on the orders of Chief of Army Staff.

“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,” said the media wing of the military in a statement. “The Court of Inquiry has established that on night 18 / 19 October officers from Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and ISI sector Headquarters Karachi were considerably seized with the fallout of desecration of Mazar-e-Quaid. They were under increasing public pressure to ensure prompt action as per the law. Assessing the response of [the] police authorities against this developing yet volatile situation to be slow and wanting, in a charged environment, the concerned ISI / Rangers officers decided to act, rather over zealously,” the ISPR press release said further quoting findings of the Court of Inquiry.

The inquiry further held 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.

The Court of Inquiry was constituted on the orders of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the wake of grievances of Sindh IGP following the alleged desecration of mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam in Karachi on October 18, 2020. The Army Chief had taken notice of the incident and ordered an immediate inquiry into it. The decision to constitute the Court of Inquiry was taken after PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called upon General Bajwa and ISI Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest of PML-N leader Capt (R) Mohammad Safdar in Karachi, for the alleged desecration.

On October 19, Capt. (R) Safdar, who was staying at a Karachi hotel with his wife and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, was arrested for “violating the sanctity of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s mausoleum”. The PML-N leaders were in Karachi in connection with a Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally in the city a day earlier. Following Safdar’s arrest, a purported voice message by PML-N leader and former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair had alleged that the Sindh IGP was kidnapped and forced to register the First Information Report against Maryam, her husband Safdar and 200 others for violating the sanctity of Quaid’s mausoleum.

Later, addressing the media after a press conference by Sindh Chief Minister, Bilawal Bhutto had revealed that Sindh IGP Mushataq Mahar and other top police officers had decided to go on two-month leave for being “ridiculed and mishandled”. Soon after his press conference, the Army Chief telephoned him to discuss the incident and ordered inquiry into the incident.