AD Khawaja set to return on January 3

Criticism, court’s stay put an end to Sindh IG’s ‘forced leave’


Faraz Khan December 31, 2016

KARACHI: After a few days of controversy, Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja is likely resume charge of his office on January 3. He was sent on forced leave, but after criticism from civil society and the court's stay, the Sindh government was forced to reconsider its decision, it emerged on Friday.

Talking to The Express Tribune, IG Khawaja said, "I will rejoin the office after completion of my 15-day-long vacation that ends on January 2".

AD Khawaja appointed new IG Sindh

Official sources said that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led Sindh government sent the top cop on 'forced leave' due to differences on multiple issues relating to recruitment, appointments and transfer and postings in the Sindh police. He was sent on leave days before PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari's homecoming after 18 months of self-imposed exile in London and Dubai.

The Sindh government is still undecided about the appointment of a new IG to replace Khawaja. It also failed to send any names for the appointment of the new IG to the federal government.

On the other hand, PPP leaders refuted claims that the Sindh government was under any pressure on the appointment of policemen or transfer and posting of IGs. "We have not removed the IG. He has gone on leave," clarified Senator Saeed Ghani. He set aside rumours that PPP leadership was annoyed with the IG over sugarcane issues.

Meanwhile, the chief minister's information adviser, Maula Buksh Chandio, said, "The appointment of the IG is the Sindh government's prerogative. One should not panic about it." He added that competent officers are given responsibilities in Sindh on merit.

Man who patrolled streets as milk seller to uncover corrupt cops takes charge as new IG

The day the IG's leave was approved, rumours circulated that a new top cop would be appointed in Khawaja's absence. "Yes, it definitely had to be done but it could not be done now," disclosed a source privy to the matter. "There are multiple reasons [why Khawaja was not dismissed], such as the media, court and federal government's interference."

Sources said that the Sindh government must have reached some understanding with the IG by sorting out differences. "So far, it is a temporary decision not to remove IG Khawaja," said the source, hinting that the IG's removal could happen later.

During background interviews with senior police officials, it was revealed that the change of command of IGs in this short period of time is result of a dispute between two top cops - Khawaja and former IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali. "This started when the apex court appointed Khawaja an inquiry officer to look into the massive irregularities in the appointment of cops and bungling in the tenure of Jamali," a senior police official claimed, adding that Khawaja not only submitted the reports to the court holding Jamali responsible for all the wrongdoings but leaked the inquiry findings to media in order to defame him.

"Soon after Khawaja's report, both officers turned [enemies] and this was a turning," said sources, adding that soon after Jamali's removal and the mounting pressure on the government, the latter had no other option but to appoint a non-controversial officer to comply with the court's orders. "Khawaja was the only choice for the government and he took over the charge following long meetings with then chief minister Qaim Ali Shah and other concerned authorities," sources said.
Change in command: Graft charges cost Sindh police chief his job

After he took over charge, the other group led by Jamali became active against him, highlighting Khawaja's weak points to the government, media and other concerned quarters in order to take revenge. "Jamali dug out the list of petrol pumps, land and other properties owned by Khawaja and presented the dossiers to the media," disclosed a senior police official. He added that the PPP already wanted to get rid of Khawaja, who wanted to implement the apex committee's decision to appoint 20,000 cops on merit. "Apart from appointments, Khawaja irked a close aide of the PPP by ignoring his calls and not toeing his line," sources said.

When contacted, both IGs were reluctant to talk on the record about this issue. "I cannot comment on it," said Jamali, echoing Khawaja's statement.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2017.

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