News Analysis |
The Supreme Court on Friday initiated the proceedings in a suo-motu case related to sudden transfer of PakPattan former District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Umar Gondal. CJP Mian Saqib nisar, heading a three-judge SC bench asked why Punjab CM interfered in police matters as it was made clear that political interference in police will not be tolerated.
Controversy sparked when allegedly, newly elected CM Punjab Usman Bazdar transferred DPO Gondal for intercepting Khawar Maneka, ex-husband of First Lady Bushra Imran.
Khawar Maneka was signaled to stop at security picket in Pakpattan by police, but he allegedly refused and raced ahead. The police had subsequently chased him down and forced him to stop, which resulted in exchange of harsh arguments between Gondal and Maneka. The officer was later directed to visit Maneka Dera, and tender an apology to him for intercepting the vehicle. But on refusing to do so, DPO Gondal was transferred and asked to report to Central Police Office (CPO) in Lahore.
DPO Gondal said in his statement that he and RPO were asked by chief minister’s PSO Haider, to visit CM House. There, Ahsan Jameel Gujjar, who was introduced as a ‘brother’ of CM Punjab addressed him in a very dogmatic tone and asked DPO to go to Maneka’s dera and apologize to him for earlier incident. But Gondal refused to do so.
Gondal claimed he also received messages from an ISI (Inter service intelligence) colonel, named Tariq, asking him to go to dera.
IG Punjab, Kaleem Imam in his version of events said that there was no pressure on him to make the transfer and it was just a departmental decision, taken because of Rizwan Gondal’s false narration of the incident to higher authorities.
CJP asked why DPO was transferred as late as at 1 am in the night. He asked why transfer could not wait till the morning and orders had to be issued at night only. Chief Justice Nisar asked about the role of CM Punjab in the transfer and inquired about Ahsan Gujjar if he was some influential individual.
Chief justice asked Khawar Maneka and Ahsan Gujjar to be presented in court but Khawar Manika excused himself from leaving Lahore and Ahsan Gujjar could not be reached by the additional advocate general of Punjab.
He portentously during the hearing asked Punjab Advocate general to read the court judgement involving Article 62 (1) (f) of the constitution that describes the eligibility criteria for an elected representative. When the court was informed that the required persons could not be presented before the court due to various reasons, the court adjourned the case to Monday.
The bench also summoned Maneka, Ahsan Jameel Gujjar, principal staff officer (PSO) to Punjab CM, chief staff officer (CSO) to CM, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Col Tariq Faisal and DIG Headquarters Shahzada Sultan on September 3.
Is CM Buzdar in Trouble?
CJP Mian Saqib Nisar has said categorically that he wants police to be free and empowered. No political interference would be tolerated. During the hearing of suo-motu case he did indicate that if any external influence on DPO’s transfer would be found, people would be in trouble, which in this case seems CM Punjab Usman Buzdar.
Is PTI Failing in Media Handling and Public Relations?
PTI government seems to be embroiled in one scandal after another. Most of these scandals are PTI’s own doings. The non-serious statement by Fawad Chaudary on use of helicopter by incumbent Prime Minister and later the abusive language used by Fayyaz-ul-Hasan Chohan indicate that the ruling party needs to work on its media strategy.
Moreover, the emergence of Khawar Maneka fiasco where a DPO was forcefully transferred for allegedly not budging to the demands of IG Punjab Police to apologize to the ex-husband of First Lady, is a serious blow to PTI’s moto of ‘Not two but one Pakistan’ where everyone is equal before the law.
The surfacing of three major scandals within the first two weeks of the in-statement of the new government is a sign that it will be pretty tough for Imran Khan to fulfill his agendas.Analysts and political pundits opine that Imran Khan and his cabinet must take strict action against anyone who violates the law or the constitution to quickly suppress any criticism which may arise as a result. By ensuring the supremacy of law, PTI will have a chance to focus on major issues facing the country.