KARACHI: Extending the stay order against the IG's removal for five days, the Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Thursday Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja to continue serving on the post till May 23.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, was hearing two applications seeking contempt of court order proceedings against the provincial authorities for surrendering the IG's services to the federal government in violation of the court's stay order and assigning the additional charge of the IG's office to AIG Abdul Majid Dasti. The petition had been filed by civil rights groups, including the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) and Urban Resource Centre.
Court maintains stay against removal of AD Khawaja till today
Khawaja has been continuing on the post since the court stayed the PPP-led provincial government's move to send him on 'forced' leave in December 2016. The court later maintained the stay order after the province surrendered his services to the Centre in April this year.
A day earlier, the bench had not entertained Khawaja's application to allow him to relinquish charge of the IG's post, for 'it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to work under the current circumstances'.
During Thursday's proceedings, Advocate Faisal Siddiqui, who represented the petitioners, said the IG had filed an affidavit on May 16, stating he voluntarily wants to give up his post as the IG and that his name may be deleted from the memo of the petition in the case. He argued that the reasons that were given in the affidavit seemed to be at best, not the entire truth and at worst, an attempt to mislead the court.
He told the court that Advocate Shahab Osto, who filed the affidavit on behalf of the IG, had given a statement in the media that the reason Khawaja wanted to voluntarily quit his job was that he is not allowed to work independently and there is great interference by the provincial government in his functions, which is completely contrary to the contents of the affidavit. Moreover, the additional attorney-general has also made a statement before the court in a previous hearing that the IG is not being allowed to function, which is also completely contrary to the contents of the affidavit, he added.
AD Khawaja's case: SHC extends stay against IG's removal
Siddiqui further argued that in the para-wise comments filed by the IG, he had not said a single word about any problems in his functioning as the IG. He argued, "In view of the above-mentioned facts, it is obvious that either the Respondent 7 [IG Khawaja] has been pressurised to file the above-mentioned statement in order to subvert the proceedings before this court not disclosing the true facts or he has deliberately misled this court by not stating the true facts and consequently wasted the precious time and resources of the court."
In his arguments, the provincial advocate-general, Barrister Zamir Ghumro, insisted that the appointment of the IG was a provincial subject and the federal government had nothing to do with the matter.
He contended that the Punjab province had also amended the police laws recently while the IG is also appointed by the provincial government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. He maintained that under the Police Act, 1861, the provincial government had the authority to appoint the IG.
Removal of Sindh IG AD Khawaja stayed again
After hearing the arguments, the bench adjourned the matter till May 23, directing the IG to continue on his post till then.