Politicised police

Published: August 10, 2018

Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar is no more at the helm of Karachi Police. The additional inspector general of police (AIG) is transferred for his alleged role in an FIA-mandated money-laundering case against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and several others. There is no official word as to the whys and the wherefores of the move, but reports suggest that an inquiry conducted by Additional IG Dr Aftab Pathan found a Karachi police team guilty of harassing witnesses in the Rs35 billion money-laundering case. And this led to Mahar’s transfer orders issued by Sindh Police chief Amjad Javed Saleemi. Mahar, though, says that the transfer came in line with his wish.

This is the second time that Mahar had to relinquish charge as Karachi Police chief during his three-year stint. Nearly a year back — on July 17, 2017 to be exact — he was removed from the said post, but only to be brought back in the saddle after just 37 days as his successor, Ghulam Qadir Thebo, had failed to curb a surge in crime, especially bank robberies, kidnappings and killings in the city. This time Mahar has got the sack for his alleged political role, and the ‘harassment’ of witnesses by a police party, so it looks like a case of political parties using the police for their vested interests. But the fact that Mahar was slated as a reputed officer enjoying the trust of security and intelligence bosses does make the move a bit debatable. What leaves further room for argument are the circumstances surrounding the whole affair and how it was reportedly dealt with? If Maher, as the boss, is ultimately responsible for the police ‘harassing’ witnesses then his mere sidelining does not constitute a proper response.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2018.

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