KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) reserved on Tuesday its verdict in a case relating to the appointment of Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja, whose removal from the post was further stayed till the announcement of the order.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, reserved its order after hearing concluding arguments from the lawyers representing the petitioners, the federal and provincial governments and IG Khawaja.
The petition was filed by a group of non-profit organisations, including the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research and Urban Resource Centre, seeking reforms in the policing system and against the Sindh government's decision to send IG Khawaja on 'forced' leave in December last year.
Later, in April this year, they moved two applications seeking contempt of the court proceedings against the provincial authorities 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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Ever since, the court had stayed his removal from the office.
In his concluding arguments, the petitioners' lawyer, Faisal Siddiqui, said in its letter addressed to the cabinet division dated March 31, the Sindh government had requested the federal government to take back the IG’s services and issue a notification to this effect.
However, before the federal government could issue the notification, the next day the provincial government removed Khawaja from the IG's post and issued a notification regarding the surrender of his services to the Centre on its own.
He argued that the provincial government had revived the Police Act, 1861 through the Police Act, 2011 and had repealed the Police Order, 2002.
The lawyer contended that there were no grounds for the provincial government to object to the contents of the petition. He refuted the provincial advocate general’s allegations that the petitioners had filed the petition in collusion with IG Khawaja and the federal government. The AG gave no proof of such allegations, he added.
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In his arguments, AG Barrister Zamir Ghumro contended that the provincial government had the authority to appoint the IG, adding that Khawaja was not removed from the post because he was working on an own-pay scale (OPS) basis. Therefore, he argued the laws requiring the heads of the provincial government departments to serve on the post for a term of five years does not apply to Khawaja.
He pleaded to the court to dismiss the petition, as it lacked merits for passing any order. After hearing arguments, the bench reserved its verdict on the petition.