Federal govt opposes demand for authority to appoint IG

Additional attorney-general argues Centre has authority under Article 240


Naeem Sahoutara May 26, 2017
Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The federal government opposed on Thursday the Sindh government’s demand for ‘sole’ authority to appoint the inspector-general (IG) of police in the province, arguing that allowing the practice of unilateral decision by the province will lead to ‘disorder’ in the Centre.

Making arguments in the case relating to appointment of Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja, additional attorney-general Salman Talibuddin said the Centre had the authority to appointment the IGs in the provinces, which was granted to it under Article 240 of the Constitution as well as an agreement signed with the Sindh government on September 19, 1993.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, was hearing a petition filed by the non-profit organisations seeking reforms to the police laws and against the removal of Khawaja from the IG's post.

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The federal law officer opposed the Sindh government’s demand of giving the authority of the IGs’ appointment to the province. Such authority must rest with the federal government as giving the same to the province will result in disorder in the Centre, he contended.

However, he maintained, the federal government does not ‘impose’ any officer on the province under the 1993 agreement as the appointment is made after consultation with the provincial government on different officers’ names.

He informed the judges that Khawaja was also appointed on the IG’s post with the consent of the provincial government, which later surrendered his services to the Centre all of a sudden. He alleged that no solid reasons to remove the officer were provided by the provincial government, which had unilaterally taken the decision of his removal. Allowing such practice will cause disorder in the Centre, the federal law officer argued.

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

Concluding his argument, Talibuddin pleaded that the court reject the provincial government’s demand for sole authority to appoint the IG.

In his argument, Advocate Faisal Siddiqui, the counsel for the petitioners, said any law or practice contrary to fundamental human rights, as had been mentioned in Article 8 of the Constitution, is null and void as had been ruled by the Supreme Court in the Sheikh Liaquat Hussain case.

Opposing the provincial advocate-general’s objection to the high court’s jurisdictions to hear and decide the petition, he contended that the superior courts could go far for the safeguarding of fundamental rights.

SHC stays IG’s removal for one more day

He maintained that the petition was not filed to protect any individual, rather it was meant to protect basic human rights.

He was still advancing with his arguments when the bench rose for the day. However, it maintained its earlier stay order against the removal of Khawaja till May 30. The court allowed him to continue serving on the post till the next date, when Advocate Siddiqui will give further arguments.

A group of non-profit organisations, including Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research and Urban Resource Centre, had filed the petition seeking reforms to the police laws and reversal of the government’s move to send Khawaja on ‘forced’ leave in December 2016.

Statement in court: Sindh police chief offers to step down

Later, in April this year, they moved two applications seeking contempt of the court proceedings against the provincial authorities concerned for removing Khawaja from the IG’s post in violation of the court’s stay order and assigning the additional charge of the post to AIG Abdul Majid Dasti.

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