KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) extended on Thursday its stay order against the removal of Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja with permission to continue serving on the post till May 10.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, passed these directives while hearing two applications seeking contempt of court proceedings against the provincial authorities concerned for removing Khawaja from the post in violation of the court's December 2016 stay order and assigning the additional charge of the post to AIG Abdul Majid Dasti.
The applications were filed by a group of non-profit organisations.
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During the proceedings, the judges inquired from Faisal Siddiqui, who represented the NGOs, that whether the court should pass a direction to the provincial government to bring reforms to the police department or a judicial commission be formed for the purpose.
He argued that the desired results towards better law and order could not be achieved without depoliticising the police department.
The judges asked him whether the court should pass an order to amend the Police Act 1861.
The lawyer said the petitioners wanted reforms in the police and allowing the incumbent IG to complete his tenure was part of such reforms.
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He said the petitioners had not sought any order for formation of a judicial commission for the purpose. However, massive reforms in police were needed.
He explained the two prayers were made by the petitioners, who at present were seeking an administrative order.
However, he said it was the discretion of the court to pass a direction to the government to introduce reforms in the police or do legislation for the same.
Justice Akhtar observed that since the court was preoccupied with a number of cases, how it could pass an order carrying out the exercise of formation.
Siddiqui said the court pass both directives to bring reforms and fresh legislation. However, he said that reforms could be ordered after formation of the commission. He cited how the courts ordered formation of commissions in the past over matters such as Lal Masjid as well as poor water and sanitation conditions in Sindh.
Court maintains stay against removal of AD Khawaja till today
Siddiqui argued the IG could not be removed without completing his term unless any emergency situation arises. In the Police Order 2002, the IG's tenure is prescribed as three years while in the Rules of Business, the same is prescribed as five years, he said.
The lawyer contended the Supreme Court had also declared the length of service of the civil servants as important in the famous Anita Turab case. He alleged the provincial government lied before the court by saying no action was taken against the IG AD Khawaja, who was sent on forced leave.
Siddiqui was still continuing arguments when the bench rose for the day. It directed the lawyer to continue his arguments from the same point on May 10. Till then, the bench extended its earlier stay order against removal of IG Khawaja.
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