Civil society to go to court in support of AD Khawaja

Published: April 3, 2017

KARACHI: Civil society and human and labour rights organisations have demanded the provincial government to withdraw the notification issued for the transfer of Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja and appointment of Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the new IG.

Addressing a joint press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Sunday, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) Executive Director Karamat Ali, Nazim F Haji, Zahid, Mahnaz Rehman of the Aurat Foundation and Mir Zulfiqar Ali of the Workers Education and Research Organisation (Wero) said the government has committed contempt of court by transferring Khawaja, as the Sindh High Court (SHC) had already issued a stay order on his transfer on December 28, 2016.

Ali said the civil society organisations and some individuals have filed a constitutional petition in the SHC on police reforms in Sindh through lawyer Faisal Siddiqi. Siddiqi sent a contempt notice to Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Khawaja and Dasti on Saturday, demanding the withdrawal of the notification otherwise he would approach the SHC. Khawaja has been asked not to vacate the position as it would be contempt of court.

Contempt of court: SHC issues notices to Sindh IG, police authorities

“It is obvious that the provincial government don’t like AD Khawaja because he is an honest police officer,” said Ali. “In case the government does not withdraw the notification, contempt of court proceedings would be initiated.”

The petitioners have asked the SHC to declare the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Order, 2002 and Revival of the Police Act, 1861) Act, 2011 as ‘unconstitutional, without jurisdiction, illegal and of no legal effect’. It has also been asked to declare that the Police Order, 2002 is constitutionally and legally valid.

The main demand is the constitution of a broad-based independent commission, headed by a retired high court or Supreme Court judge, comprising relevant and respected civil society persons as nominated by the SHC and the direction for this commission to supervise implantation of the Police Order, 2002.

Ali said the provincial government’s act of removing Khawaja was entirely illegal. “We have moved the court to get judicial injunctions that in free and democratic societies, police are meant to protect people [irrespective] of who they are and where they belong to,” Ali commented, saying that unfortunately the rulers wanted to keep law enforcement agencies as their tools to suppress the opposition.

The status of their petition, as the SHC website shows, appears pending. He said that a hearing is scheduled tomorrow.

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