KARACHI: Civil society and rights activists have demanded the Sindh government withdraw all its notifications regarding postings and transfers of police officers and initiate consultations with all the stakeholders before making a new law for the police.
This demand was presented during a joint press conference on Monday, which was addressed by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) Executive Director Karamat Ali, Citizens Trust Against Crimes member Nazim F Haji and Aurat Foundation Regional Director Mahnaz Rahman. The activists told the media that they have issued a legal notice to the Sindh government on the issuance of various notifications undermining the role of the inspector-general of police in key decisions in the police department as the Sindh High Court (SHC) has already issued a stay order in favour of the top cop.
The speakers were of the view that when the SHC had restored the IG Allah Dino Khawaja, it was obvious that he was restored with all his powers. However, the government recently issued notifications of transfers and postings of senior police officers, which was against the spirit of the SHC order.
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Ali pointed out that in the constitutional petition filed by him, Haji, Shahzad Roy and others in December last year, the SHC had issued stay orders against the transfer of IG Khawaja. Our main contention in the petition was to provide autonomy to the police officers, Ali said, adding that the Sindh government is planning to repeal the Police Order, 2001 and replace it with the Police Act, 1861. "We contend that the Police Act, 1861 is an inappropriate law in the current circumstances," he said.
Haji informed the media that the civil society would formally file an application in the SHC after August 1 when the court's vacations will have expired. "We demand the provincial government not to table the draft [of the new] police act without getting the IG's input," he added.
The police should be autonomous as far as its statutory functions are concerned and that is not possible without entrusting the powers to hire, transfer and fire to the head of the provincial police, said Haji.