Reforming police or silencing opposition? What is CCPO Lahore’s job?

CCPO Umar Sheikh is apparently a controversial man in Lahore. GVS News analysis explores his real job in the province; is he here to reform the police force to silence the Opposition? Must read for the students of history and Pakistan politics.

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Umar Sheikh, Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), has arrested a ‘delinquent’ officer on the grounds of incompetence and wrongful investigation, reported Siasat.pk. Notably, two weeks ago, Sheikh arrested police officers for not providing immediate assistance to citizens. Umar Sheikh is a controversial senior police officer in Punjab. The controversy surrounding Sheikh is due to various reasons—ranging from being a rape apologist to a man given the task to deal with powerful gangs in the province— and has the potential to affect his performance in the long run.

Sheikh is now going after the police officers involved in corruption and misuse of authority. He has promised to transform the Punjab police within three months. Initially, he is taking action against the corrupt officers. “In Lahore, a police officer posted at Chung was arrested over poor investigation. Chung police have registered a case against ASI Sabar Hussain and arrested him. The arrest was made on the orders of the Lahore CCPO. Meanwhile, Green Town police arrested a man identified as Ansar for raping a woman,” reported Bol News.

CCPO Lahore goes after rapists

A day ago, the Lahore police claimed to have apprehended a suspect who had allegedly tried to sexually assault a woman before her husband in the Green Town area of Lahore.

According to Siasat.pk sources, “a man blamed that an unidentified person entered his residence after climbing up the wall and tried to sexually assault his wife before him. However, he ran away after the husband offered resistance during the bid”.

The police registered a case on the complaint of the husband. It was confirmed later during the day, the police were able to arrest the accused identified as Ansar. “Ansar had sexually assaulted a woman after barging into the victim’s home,” they said.

Umar Shaikh also took strict notice of the incident and said that the accused would be brought to justice, reported Siasat News.

The website also said that “incidents of rape have been reported frequently from parts of the country during the last couple of weeks especially after the horrific gang-rape incident at Lahore motorway and Marwah rape and murder case in Karachi”.

Umar Sheikh: A controversial man running Lahore?

The CCPO has become a controversial man in Punjab right after his appointment. Sources within the police claim that the former IGP Shoaib Dastgir was not willing to work as the provincial police chief after PTI’s favourite man, Umar Sheikh, man some uncalled for remarks against him. The government, despite facing public backlash, replaced the IGP, not the CCPO.

Later on, on the horrible incident when a mother of two was gang-raped on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway, and the CCPO blamed the woman for this tragedy. “The woman called her brother instead of police and her brother telephoned the motorway police at 130 to send a police mobile,” he told.

After days, the CCPO tendered an apology for his comments.

Read more: Mahwish Arshad’s case: Violence against women is a demonstration of power

Similarly, a foreign-educated sub-inspector, in the Punjab police, resigned from office after receiving verbal abuse from CCPO Umar Sheikh during a meeting reported the News.

The former sub-inspector handed in a two-line resignation letter in which he said he could no longer continue after the humiliating incident.

Virk had reportedly answered a question during the meeting incorrectly when he was called a donkey’s son (Khotay ka bacha). The meeting was being chaired by CCPO on 22, September.

“Sheikh is here to silence Opposition”

There is also a view that the PTI brought in Sheikh to take action against the opposition. Sources in PML-N told GVS that after the party workers staged a protest in front of the NAB’s Lahore office, the government deiced to take a stern action against the local leadership. “Sheikh is in Lahore not to take action against corrupt officers or reform the police force. He is here to silence the opposition,” the source said.

Read more: Has Asma’s case exposed patriarchal predominance?

M Pitafi, a Lahore-based academic, told GVS that “CCPO Lahore has many roles to play. I do not buy the PTI’s version that he is here to reform the police or go after the gangs in Punjab. If it was the case, Nasir Durrani would have never been sent home”. He is of the view that the CCPO may reform the police to some extent but he is a role to play “in the wider political context”.

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