IG’s power struggles reach the high court

Civil society has approached the SHC to initiate contempt proceedings against govt


Our Correspondent August 05, 2017
Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The issues relating to the ongoing power tussle between Sindh Inspector-General of Police Allah Dino Khawaja and the provincial government continue to be agitated in the judiciary, as the Sindh High Court (SHC) has again been approached regarding the withdrawal of the police chief’s powers.

The court issues notices on Friday to the provincial chief secretary and others over withdrawal of the IG’s powers in alleged contempt of the court's order.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, directed the alleged contemnors to submit their replies within one week.

The contempt of court application was filed on behalf of the Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education and Research (Piler) and other civil society organisations that had previously filed a petition against the removal of IG Khawaja from the top provincial cop's post and the provincial government's decision to hand over his services to the Centre.

On May 30, the division bench had reserved its verdict on their petition after lengthy proceedings initiated in December last year. On Friday, their lawyer, Faisal Siddiqui, informed the two judges that the provincial government recently took away the IG's powers to transfer and post officers in the police department.

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He alleged that the reshuffles in the police on a large scale were being carried out on the directions of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal and others. He argued that such transfers and postings were made without mandatory consultation with the IG, who was the head of the police force.

The lawyer alleged that the respondents had paralysed the provincial police chief, as his powers had been taken away. He argued that the police officers' transfers and postings without consultation with the IG could prove detrimental to the law and order situation in the province.

Siddiqui further argued that the Sindh government could not order the transfer or posting of officers working on key posts without consultation with the provincial police officer, but the respondents were doing the same.

He told the judges that the court had already reserved its verdict in the matter relating to removal of the IG Khawaja, adding the respondents' act of ordering the transfer and postings of the officers without his consultation and leaving him powerless was tantamount to committing contempt of the court's interim orders passed earlier.

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Therefore, the court was pleaded to restrain the alleged contemnors, including the provincial chief secretary and others, from reshuffling police officers without discussing the matters with the IG. It was also requested to initiate contempt of court proceedings against them for willfully and deliberately ordering reshuffles in violation of the court's interim orders.

Case history

Since April 6, the court has stayed the removal of IG Khawaja from the post by the provincial government, which had surrendered his services to the federal government on March 31.

The interim stay was granted on two applications seeking contempt of the court order proceedings against the provincial authorities for removing IG Khawaja from the post in an alleged violation of the earlier stay order and suspension of the government's notification that gave the additional charge of the post to AIG Abdul Majeed Dasti.

Both the pleas were moved by a group of non-governmental organisations, including Piler and the Urban Resource Centre. The NGOs had approached the court against the likely removal of the police chief from the post of IG in December last year and for reforms in the policing system in the province.

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