ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the police report that said political interference was not behind the sudden transfer of Pakpattan district police officer (DPO) Rizwan Gondal last month, the Supreme Court on Monday ordered a fresh probe into the incident as it came down hard on Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
The report filed by Kaleem Imam, the former inspector general of police (IGP) in Punjab who is now serving as IGP Sindh, said Ahsan Iqbal Jamil Gujjar – a family friend of Khawar Maneka, the first lady’s former husband – did not commit any cognizable offence and his presence during a meeting at the CM House in which the DPO was summoned did not constitute interference in police affairs.
Resuming proceedings of the suo motu case, a three-judge bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, completely rejected the report and summoned Punjab CM Buzdar to clarify his position about alleged interference in the police affairs.
Surprisingly, the CM, who was present in Islamabad, appeared before the bench after two hours. His appearance, however, could not satisfy the judges who ordered Khaliq Dad Lak to conduct a fresh inquiry into why and under whose instruction, the Pakpattan DPO was transferred at midnight.
IGP report finds no proof of political meddling
The court also asked him to find out whether any offence was made out against the ‘stranger’, namely Gujjar, who allegedly threatened the former DPO in the presence of the CM during the meeting. Lak serves as national coordinator for the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta).
Addressing the CM, the CJP warned that he should be more careful as Punjab, the country’s biggest province, would not run in this fashion. He said the CM instead of getting dictations should be honest and upright.
“If you feel that you cannot serve as chief executive of the largest province then you should leave office. It is democracy and not kingship,” the top judge told Buzdar.
PM Imran takes notice as IG Punjab orders inquiry in Khawar Maneka case
He also wondered why the CM allowed Gujjar to sit with police officers. “The CM humiliated the police force and later ordered transferring the DPO at 1 o’clock at night,” he said.
He also asked him for how long he knew Gujjar. “If the court goes in for further investigation then your contacts with Gujjar will be exposed,” the CJP told the CM.
Expressing due respect for the court, CM Buzdar said the Maneka family was a victim and he first contacted the Punjab IG but he was in Islamabad. He said he later called both the RPO and the DPO to resolve the matter amicably, adding that he met Gujjar only recently.
He expressed respect for both the officers and assured the court that such incidents would not happen in the future and that his government had even taken steps to depoliticise the police.
Acting Advocate General of Punjab Shan Gull also said the incident took place three days after Buzdar became CM.
When a police officer said the meeting between the CM and the police officers in the presence of Gujjar was ‘unethical’, the CJP said if the incident was unethical then it should be reviewed if Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution can be applied.
Later, the bench also questioned Gujjar’s involvement in this matter and his links with the Maneka family. It questioned how he could become the guardian of Maneka children as their parents are alive.
The CJP also told Gujjar, “You people are destroying the system by promoting nepotism.” Gujjar, who was present in the courtroom, bowed low to the court.
Comments on report
“It’s an absolutely rubbish report as we are passing stricture against you,” the CJP told IG Imam, currently working as IG Sindh. He said the report had been prepared on malafide basis. “Despite criticism, the court had trusted you to conduct an inquiry,” he told Imam.
The IG contended that he conducted the inquiry fairly. But if the court was not satisfied with the report, he was ready to tender an unconditional apology, he added.
The bench, however, told him that if the fresh inquiry negated his report’s findings then it would not be possible for him to work as head of a provincial police.