ISLAMABAD: The federal government has approached the Supreme Court seeking permission for the appointment of a permanent Inspector General of Police (IGP) in Islamabad in view of prevailing law and order situation arising out of the acquittal of Asia Bibi by the apex in a blasphemy case.
Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan has filed an application in the apex court, requesting it to allow the federal government to appoint a permanent IGP, as no one is taking responsibility in the prevailing situation while the incumbent IGP, Jan Muhammad, is abroad.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has fixed the AGP’s plea for hearing before the bench today (Thursday).
Earlier, the federal government through secretary interior ministry defended the transfer of IGP Jan Muhammad, saying the federal government was already working on the replacement and Azam Khan Taimoori and Amir Zulfiqar were interviewed for this purpose.
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The interior secretary, in his reply, also shared screenshots of a Whatsapp communication between Minister of State Shahryar Afridi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on September 12.
“It was not on the complaint of Federal Minister for Science & Technology [Azam Khan Swati] which prompted the removal of the IGP Islamabad. There are numerous complaints as stated by the MOS interior including drug trafficking, bhatta collection, unlawful behavior of police, unlawful detention of minor children, illegal arrests which the MOS interior complained to the IGP Islamabad and required him to take action, says the reply.
Likewise, the IG refused to give minutes of the meeting when the concern of the MOS interior was communicated to the IG. After his refusal not to share the minutes, Afridi held meetings on video, whose record is attached with the reply.
On the basis of the complaints, the prime minister directed the secretary establishment to remove the IG police which no doubt was a verbal order. On accounts of these fact, the secretary establishment immediately moved a summary before the PM on the next working day on October 29
Earlier, the three-judge bench of the top court, led by the CJP, accepted Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s explanation after the minister was summoned over his statement regarding the transfer of the IG Islamabad.
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Fawad had questioned the purpose of holding elections in the country if the elected prime minister could not even suspend an IGP. He called the apex court a respectable institution, but asserted the PM and CMs “will not shy away from using their rightful authority”.
During the hearing, another judge Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan said the ministers’ statements were “irresponsible” and “indirectly ridiculing the court”.
Reacting to the information minister’s statement, Justice Nisar observed the Constitution had given the top court the authority to take notice of the matter. Even the prime minister was disqualified.
“The prime minister can exercise his discretion under the law and rule. He has no unfettered powers,” the top judge remarked.
He recalled the transfer of IG Punjab was done in a similar manner which led to Nasir Durrani resigning in protest. Chaudhry, however, said that he could not even imagine talking against the Supreme Court.
The AGP, however, defended the government’s decision by claiming the transfer was already in the works. He said a case was already being made against Jan Muhammad due to Minister of State for Interior Shahryar Afridi’s complaints.
When the attorney general shared a WhatsApp conversation between the state minister and the IGP, Justice Ahsan asked if the government was running state affairs via WhatsApp. “The country will be run according to the law. We do not care who is running the government,” he added.
The apex court had also taken exception to Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati’s conduct and hinted at considering the applicability of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.
The court has noted that the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) would be asked to conduct the investigation. It also summoned the aggrieved family on Friday along with the police record.
“You got the entire family, including women, arrested. Do those people have the same powers as you?” the CJP asked the federal minister.
Swati then said, “I received a bomb threat and was warned that I will be blown up.”
Justice Nisar then asked the minister, “How much land do you own and have you illegally encroached on the land?”
Earlier, the apex court had sought a written explanation from the PTI government through the AGP whether the transfer was bona fide or colorable exercise of power.