KARACHI: Though the Sindh High Court (SHC) reserved its verdict in the case pertaining to the removal of Sindh Inspector General of Police Allah Dino Khawaja, the provincial government has shortlisted names of candidates for the post, The Express Tribune learnt on Saturday.
Following differences with the provincial government, IG Khawaja recently offered to step down from his post voluntarily, explaining it has become difficult for him to perform his duties amid a conflict with the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government.
In his comments filed with the Sindh High Court on May 17 through his lawyer Shahab Osto, Khawaja said he found it 'impractical' to hold on to the IG office in the wake of the provincial government's March 31 order surrendering his services to the federal government.
"An officer has been selected as the new Sindh IG," a senior official in the provincial government who requested anonymity told The Express Tribune. "But it depends on the court's verdict. Our preparations are complete; now let's see what the court decides."
Drawing battle lines: Reshuffle likely to post out IG’s confidants
Khawaja was appointed as the Sindh IG in March, 2016 after the federal government removed former IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali from the post.
Provincial governments should reach a consensus with the federal government while appointing the provincial police chief but this time it seems unlikely. "Under the existing rules of business, any provincial government can surrender the services of any federal officer posted in the province through a notification issued by the establishment division and can appoint a provincial police chief as per its own wishes," revealed an official in the Sindh government.
In December, 2016, the IG was sent on ‘forced leave’ by the provincial government, while the responsibilities of the Sindh IG were handed over to Karachi Additional IG Mushtaq Mahar, as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership was allegedly not happy with the IG due to many issues, particularly the transfer and posting of police officials without consulting with the provincial government. However, a few days after the controversy, IG Khawaja resumed charge as the province’s top cop.
Power tussle leaves police force in dilemma
"Last time the main reason [for the rift] besides the transfer and posting of police officials was a dispute between Khawaja and one of Asif Ali Zardari's close aides - a businessman - after a police raid at a sugarcane mill in Sindh," revealed a senior police official.
He was sent on forced leave, but after criticism from civil society and the court's stay order, the Sindh government was forced to reconsider its decision.
Sources in the provincial government told The Express Tribune that the Sindh government has shortlisted the name for the new IG and is awaiting the court's decision.
Additional of IG Research and Development Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti and Additional IG Traffic Khadim Hussain Bhatti are being considered for the post, but it has been learnt that Bhatti could not become an IG, despite being the senior most office in the Sindh police, because he is facing an inquiry by the Federal Investigation Agency. Dasti is the second most senior officer on the list.
Civil society to go to court in support of AD Khawaja
The Sindh government had appointed Dasti as the IG for a couple of days when it had surrendered Khawaja's services to the federal government. Without waiting for Islamabad's nod, the government had appointed Dasti as the provincial police chief till ‘appointment/posting of [a] regular incumbent by the establishment division’. However, the SHC suspended the provincial government's notification for Khawaja's removal.
Dasti, a grade 21 officer, has been served on various posts in Sindh and other parts of the country. Besides serving as an SSP in all districts in Karachi and DIG for districts West and East in Karachi, he has also served as additional IG Balochistan.
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