| Welcome to Global Village Space

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Does the Sindh government want a de-politicized police force?

Senator Shibli Faraz said that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led the Sindh government wanted to make police its family force. GVS News Analysis explains that the Sindh government has always been accused of controlling the police and using it for its political purposes.

Senator Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for Information, said on Thursday said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led the Sindh government wanted to make police its family force, ARY News reported. Opposing the opposition’s resolution about the ‘Karachi incident’ in Senate, Shibli Faraz said that the opposition wanted to create chaos and anarchy in the country. He accused the opposition of violating the sanctity of the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Notably, the opposition parties tabled on Thursday a resolution in the Senate regarding the arrest of PML-N leader retired Captain Mohammad Safdar and the alleged abduction of the Sindh inspector general of police.

The resolution, which demanded that a Senate committee be formed to probe the incident, was tabled by Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, PML-N’s Raja Zafarul Haq.

Leader of the House Shehzad Waseem, along with other PTI senators, opposed the resolution, saying that two committees had already been constituted to investigate the matter and the upper house should wait for their findings.

Read More: Aziz Memon, a journalist critical of PPP, died a natural death, NA told

What really happened?

It is important to note that several senior officers, including IG Sindh Mushtaq Mahar, have decided to go on leave citing the demoralization of the police force. The development took place after Retired Captain Safdar — Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law and Maryam Nawaz’s spouse—was arrested from Karachi. The IGP Sindh was reportedly forced to sign arrest orders of Safdar. However, these claims could not be independently verified.

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.

Read More: Sharjeel Memon indictment shows the discriminatory role institutions play for PPP and PML-N

Later on, the Sindh government took notice of the matter, and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced to stand by the Sindh police. An “immediate inquiry” has also been ordered by the country’s army chief to ascertain facts. Corps Commander Karachi has been asked to furnish the report as soon as possible.

Why is the Sindh government in perpetual conflict with the IGP’s office?

The Sindh government has been in perpetual conflict with the IGP’s office. In January 2020, the Sindh government wrote to the federal government that Dr. Kaleem Imam, then IGP, was “a failed police officer” who was not fit to carry out the assignment.

Saeed Ghani, senior leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and provincial Education Minister, also alleged that Dr. Imam was conspiring against the government with the help of opposition leaders.

However, contrary to what the provincial government was claiming, Dr. Imam wrote a letter to the provincial Chief Secretary (CS) in December 2019 and explained an unwanted situation.  He drew the attention of the CS “to the judgment of the Honourable High Court of Sindh wherein, the Honourable Court in its judgment dated 7th September 2017, at paras 101 (h) and 101 (i) ruled that the Inspector General must have independent control over insofar as postings and transfers are concerned, thus putting an end to all of the external influence. Subsequently, the Honourable Supreme Court upheld the judgment and ruled that, ‘on the foregoing analysis, we affirm the impugned judgment by the learned High Court in particular with reference to the autonomy of command and independence of operation of the police force.”

It is pertinent to note that Sindh government transferred Allah Dino Khawaja (a.k.a A. D. Khawaja) back in 2017, but the decision was challenged by the civil society in the court. The Sindh High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan turned down the provincial government’s decision due to flimsy grounds on which the government based its case. The Sindh government was “unhappy” with him over several issues relating to the recruitment of constables and suspension of police officers. Besides, A.D. Khawaja was not willing to transfer and post ‘politically wanted’ police officers to some constituencies before by-elections.

Well-placed sources told GVS that the controversy broke out after the Sindh government transferred three senior police officials including Shikarpur’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Dr. Rizwan Ahmed. The IGP was not happy and repeatedly conveyed to the CM that the decision should have been based upon ‘merit’, claim sources. Moreover, Dr. Imam had also asked the provincial government for initiating action against 10 to 12 senior police officers on charges of “serious misconduct” but no action was taken.

Read More: Murder of journalist: A question over freedom of expression in Sindh

Retired police officers believe that the Sindh government wants total control over police department to maintain its ‘political strength’ across the province. “The provincial chief is always appointed on political grounds. But no police chief completely surrenders himself before the provincial government as no officer ever wants his credibility to be tarnished like that,” said a former police chief.