LAHORE: The Government of Punjab after withdrawing the protocol of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has now started to create issues on his security as well.
A scuffle between Gilani’s staff and Punjab Police personnel is said to be the first move on the part of the provincial government to convey a message to the centre: ‘You cannot move without getting approval from the Punjab government’.
A brawl between the security staff and police personnel erupted over the issue of access to the stage where the prime minister was seated as chief guest. Gilani was attending the convocation of Virtual University at Expo Center in Johar Town, where he distributed certificates among the participants.
SP Sadar Police Division Athar Waheed said that Station House Officer (SHO) of PS Mustafa Town, Muneer had been stopped by a constable part of the prime minister’s security team. He said that he was also not allowed to go near the stage, claiming that both he and the SHO were insulted by the security team and harsh words had been exchanged.
A member of the Punjab police and the security team scuffled inside for 15 minutes after Gilani left the venue, and were joined by their colleagues later. The man from the prime minister’s security team was identified as Talat.
SP Waheed said he had offered that Talat apologise to the SHO and local police, but he had refused and had instead suggested that he be taken to the police station. The SP then ordered the policemen to take Talat to the police station, adding that an FIR will be lodged against him if he does not apologise.
The SP said that he is the one responsible for security of the venue and the whole system would be destroyed if he is not respected.
SP Athar Waheed is a renowned police officer who has openly expressed his inclination with Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N). During the Long March, Waheed – who was posted as SP Gujranwala – had refused to crackdown against PML-N workers. Later, he had resigned in protest.
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had openly applauded Waheed’s action and had vowed that he would be honoured once they were in power.
According to security protocol, the premier has been given P2 security under the Blue Book. P2 (Pakistan) is the highest level security in which three cordons are made.
Before the arrival of the prime minister, local police under supervision of the SP or DPO searched the venue and area through the Special Branch, Bomb Disposal Squad, metal and explosive detectors and sniffer dogs. After the police checked the venue, security staff of the prime minster had arrived and declared the venue clear.
The Chief Security Officer of the prime minister belongs to the Army and is equal to a Major.
However, it is the local SP or DPO who are responsible of overall security affairs of the prime minister.
The prime minister is provided with three security cordons – inner, middle and outer. The inner cordon comprises of the prime minister’s security, middle is provided by the Special Branch and the outer is handled by local police.
The incident took place between the inner and outer cordons, as the security staff insisted that the police was not allowed to enter the inner cordon, while SP Waheed said that he had the right to visit all cordons.
Tit for tat?
Sources in PML-N said that during Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Sindh on May 15 and 16, the provincial government had withdrawn bullet proof vehicles and security, and that the PML-N media office had also issued a protest statement.
The second action from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) coalition government came when Interior Minister Rehman Malik had ordered SSP Islamabad to issues notices to the Sharif brothers for an inquiry into an ‘attack on the Supreme Court’ in 1998.
Sources have claimed that SP Waheed’s move was very calculated.
Governor Punjab orders SP’s transfer
Governor Punjab Sardar Latif Khosa, taking notice of the incident, directed the transfer of SP Waheed to Balochistan.
However, Police spokesperson Nabeela Ghazanfar said that Inspector General (IG) Police Haji Habibur Rehman has transferred Waheed to Provincial Headquarter Office.
Sources said that the IG on the directives of Shahbaz Sharif had refused to surrender Waheed’s services to the federal government or to relieve him.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said that the Punjab government cannot transfer officers on the wishes of others, adding that the incident had accidently occurred between the security and police officers.
He said the security staff should have obeyed the orders of SP Waheed as he was in charge of security in the whole area.
Sanaullah suggested that the matter should not be given a political angle, adding that no official would be transferred to Balochistan.
DIG Operation Rai Muhammad Tahir said that the matter had been resolved, and added that Punjab Police was investigation the matter.
SP Waheed made OSD
SP Waheed, on the orders of IG Punjab, was made Officer on Special Duty (OSD).
Shahbaz Sharif had earlier directed the IG to revert the order and had asked Waheed to continue his job as SP Sadar division.
The spokesperson of Punjab government had also said that no action will be taken against SP Waheed.
Sources in PML-N and the police told The Express Tribune that the IG had a personal grudge against Waheed. They said that a few months back, Waheed was in-charge of a promotion test for constables and sub-inspectors, and he had refused to pass one of the IG’s recommended candidates.
Sources went on to add that the IG’s operator had sat in the exam and had failed. The IG had then approached Waheed to pass him, who had refused and taken a decision on merit. They said that the IG had taken today’s incident as an opportunity and had made Waheed an OSD.
Waheed had said that PSP officials are not recruited on the recommendations of MNAs or minister, and they have to be recruited based on merit.