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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

PPP’s senior leaders allegedly plotting to kill SSP Shikarpur

There is a conflict going on between Sindh police and the ruling party. SSP Shikarpur has written to the provincial police chief that his life was in danger. Will the federal government intervene to ensure safety of senior police officers in Sindh?

The conflict between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), ruling party in Sindh, and provincial police continues as by-election is approaching. In a latest development, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shikarpur Dr Muhammad Rizwan on Tuesday informed Sindh Inspector General Police (IGP), Dr Kaleem Imam, that he fears for his life after provincial Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh threatened him and his family, reported local media.

In a detailed letter to IGP Imam, the SSP accused some senior members of Sindh’s ruling party and a provincial minister for hurling threats to him, his family members’ and his subordinate officers.

SSP Rizwan, in his letter, warned the IGP that due to the alleged patronising of criminals by political leaders, the Shikarpur district may witness a serious breakdown of law and order.

Tensions have been simmering between the provincial minister and the police official when earlier last month SSP Rizwan told DIG Larkana that Sheikh was allegedly patronising criminals and using them for political and financial gains.

Read more: By-election in PS-52: Will PPP win it in the presence of IGP Kaleem Imam?

According to The News, things, however, took a different turn on February 14 during a police encounter when an accused Mohammad Hassan Teghani, who also happens to be the nephew of Teghani tribal chief Tegho Khan Teghani associated with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), was injured and arrested by Shikarpur police to the vexation of the PPP leaders. While the Shikarpur police claimed the encounter to be genuine, the relatives of accused blamed the authorities for injuring Hassan in a fake encounter.

The Sindh Home Department on the orders of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah constituted an inquiry committee to probe into the encounter.

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

Saeed Ghani, senior leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and provincial Information Minister, has also alleged that Dr. Imam is conspiring against the government with the help of opposition leaders. Mr. Ghani maintained that the current IGP has become ‘controversial’ and should immediately resign from the post. Mr.Ghani went on saying that “the Sindh police has become a political party” while questioning “why are police officers leaking reports and visiting lawyers along with opposition politicians?”

Sindh Secretary of Services Navid Ahmed Shaikh wrote a letter to the establishment division and requested to immediately replace the IGP Sindh. Mr. Shaikh outlined various ‘compelling reasons’ behind the provincial government’s decision. Dr. Imam is not only unwilling to cooperate with the provincial government but has also failed to control crime rate across the province, the letter read.

Read more: Sindh Cabinet approved Bill to restore student unions, PPP deserves credit where it is due

Sindh government has reportedly gotten Prime Minister Imran Khan’s nod. The provincial police chief is likely to be replaced in a few days.

Contrary to what the provincial government is 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 judgement of the Honourable High Court of Sindh wherein, the Honourable Court in its judgement date 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 external influence.

Subsequently the Honourable Supreme Court upheld the judgment and ruled that, ‘on the foregoing analysis, we affirm the impugned judgement 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.

The same political necessity did not allow the current government in Punjab to reform police. In the instant case, the PTI’s government looks willing to ‘cooperate’ with the provincial government to deal with an ‘unruly’ police officer

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.

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.

Read more: Protests in Sindh continue for PAC Chairmanship

However, it is evident to note that electoral politics in rural areas of Sindh or any other province demands local politicians to have considerable control over police. Elected lawmakers in the Sindh or Punjab demand their respective provincial governments to appoint district police heads as per their choice. The same political necessity did not allow the current government in Punjab to reform police. In the instant case, the PTI’s government looks willing to ‘cooperate’ with the provincial government to deal with an ‘unruly’ police officer.