In clear defiance of an apex court order, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mehdi Shah has refused to relieve the regional police chief, Hussain Asghar, from his duties until a replacement of his choice is sent in by the federal government.
“I am the chief minister and I will relieve him (Asghar) only after I get a replacement of my choice,” Shah told reporters on Wednesday. Shah recently received choices from the federal government for new inspector general of police, but all of them were due to retire in three months.
“It wasn’t possible for us to appoint a new IGP for only three months,” Shah said, adding that as per law, IGP’s appointment cannot be made without consultation with the regional chief executive.
“This time, I have proposed some names and if we get an appropriate official to replace Asghar, we will relieve him soon,” he said.
Asghar, a former Federal Investigation Agency director, was investigating the infamous Hajj corruption scam before he was abruptly transferred to Gilgit last year.
The Supreme Court had ordered Asghar’s reinstatement in the FIA to continue investigating the scam. Shah, however, declined to relieve him on grounds that he was not consulted on the transfer.
Despite the court’s directives to suspend Asghar from his current post and block his salary for failing to report back to the FIA, Shah said the G-B police chief would continue working in his capacity.
Last week, Shah said the Supreme Court orders cannot be enforced in G-B, given the vague constitutional status of the region.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2012.