ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has strongly defended the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s decision to remove Punjab Inspector General Police (IGP) Muhammad Tahir, saying the police chief was not following the government orders on the Model Town case investigations.
The sudden transfer of the IGP Punjab just a month after his appointment caused a political storm with opposition parties denouncing the government for not fulfilling its promise of de-politicising the police.
In what came as an embarrassment for the government, Nasir Khan Durrani, who was brought from Khyber-Pakhtunkwa (K-P) by Prime Minister Imran Khan to bring reforms in the Punjab police, also resigned reportedly in protest against the IGP’s transfer.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), however, suspended the government’s notification on Tuesday, reminding it that new transfers and postings are not allowed before the October 14 by-elections.
Addressing media in Islamabad on Wednesday, the information minister, however, claimed that the ECP order is illegal. “A letter has already been written to the ECP in this connection,” he added.
Chaudhry insisted that the IGP Punjab was removed because he was not acting against those who were responsible for the June 2014 Model Town tragedy. The bureaucracy would have to follow the government policies, he said, adding that in democracy, “political checks and balances are always there”.
Arguing further, he said, “There are now personal interests developed within the bureaucracy and these elements must be removed. If bureaucrats don’t approve of the government’s policy, they can step down. It is up to the bureaucracy now to implement the government policies.”
The minister said National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had issued production orders for Opposition Leader and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, who is in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with a housing scam.
He said the government was ready to accept legitimate demands of opposition parties. Talking a jibe, he added the opposition parties wanted the government to join them in ‘corruption union’.
“The PTI’s mandate is against the corrupt system and the government would not budge an inch from its goal. The opposition parties want that they should not be held accountable but the process of accountability would not stop,” he added.
On the prevailing economic situation, the minister said a parliamentary committee should be formed to find out the real reason behind the precarious economic condition. “Why is opposition not demanding such a panel?” he said, adding that one must determine who was responsible for the current economic mess.
Talking about going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package, he said the government had to turn to the IMF due to the massive money laundering by the last PML-N government. “It is like thieves have robbed our house and now we need to catch them and bring back what we have lost,” he added