Former Punjab top cop seeks security withdrawn by incumbent IGP

Sukhera says terrorist organisations are still on the lookout to take revenge from petitioner


Rana Yasif January 18, 2021
Punjab Police Inspector General Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera chairing the regional police officers’ (RPOs) conference. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE:

Former inspector general of police (IGP) Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera, currently serving as the Federal Tax Ombudsman, on Monday challenged a notification in the Lahore High Court (LHC) through which his security protocol was withdrawn.

The former IGP implored the court that he has an outstanding, unblemished service record with integrity and the highest degree of professionalism in public working and unparalleled service in the field of counter-terrorism.

"In early 2013, frequent incidents of terrorism severely impacted the security and law and order situation of Balochistan, which led to the police force becoming dysfunctional, particularly in Quetta."

During the months of January and February 2013, hundreds of Hazara community members and police officers were martyred in target killing. As a result, fear crept in the ranks of police officers and its moral drowned to the lowest ebb. It was under these circumstances that the petitioner was picked to head the provincial police of Balochistan.

Sukhera contended that he took charge of a highly demoralised police force with insufficient resources but in a short span of time, organised, trained, and established the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and the Anti-Terrorism Force Specialised School with the acquisition of other necessary equipment and logistic resources.

Consequently, terrorists directly targeted the petitioner thrice with suicide attacks. In one such attack, the IGP house of Balochistan was hit with an explosive-laden truck. However, he remained safe.

During the tenure of the petitioner as IGP Punjab, many counter-terrorism operations were conducted in which the topmost terrorists were either eliminated or arrested. He implored the court that the terrorist organisations and their hard-core elements are still on the look-out to take revenge from the petitioner.

In short, the petitioner continues to be on their hit list to date. There exists an imminent threat to his life and that of his family.

Following his services in the domain of counter-terrorism, the government of Punjab - after assessing the threat perception and security need of the petitioner and his family - took due notice of the same and issued directives for providing befitting security to the petitioner.

The petitioner received round-the-clock security of 17 men, who were to operate in shifts. The security personnel were aided by escort and bulletproof vehicles. Later, the security personnel's strength was reduced to 12 persons. This fact was mentioned in the report submitted by the Government of Pakistan to the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) in suo muto case of 2018.

The SC also took notice of the fact that police personnel were deployed on security duty of people who otherwise were neither qualified nor entitled to have such state security.

The IGPs of the four provinces also submitted their reports in regard to security personnel being deployed to people who were not qualified for such security.

Following Punjab's report submitted on April 20 and April 29, 2018, showing the number of personnel detailed on security duty and the number of police personnel withdrawn therefrom on account of lack of justification.

He contended that the policy issued by the Punjab government and the security granted to various personnel, including the petitioner, thus acquired the force of the judgment of the country’s top court.

It may be pertinent to mention that there was no authority with the respondent (IGP) to effect variation in the quantum of security. It was only available to the home department to vary or amend the same in the light of overall security milieu at the provincial level.

Without paying heed to referred para-7 of the policy statement of the government of Punjab, the respondent IGP proceeded to pass an order on November 13, 2020, withdrawing the security of the petitioner duly approved and sanctioned by the country’s top court.

The right of the security having legally accrued to the petitioner could not be withdrawn without notice and without complying with the rules. The petitioner wrote to respondent IGP pointing out that order of withdrawal was not only repugnant to government policy approved by the country’s top court but it also offended against the petitioner’s privileges of his office of Tax Ombudsman which were equivalent to the judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan, but no heed was paid to it.

Sukhera further prayed the court to set aside the respondent IGP ‘s order passed on November 13, 2020, withdrawing the security being enjoyed by the petitioner. The security as stipulated in the report submitted before country’s top court in suo muto case in 2018 be restored, along with police personnel and a bullet proof jeep.

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