Promotion to a higher rank brings with it increased monetary incentives, additional power, and validates a civil servant’s hard work.
Unfortunately for some in the ranks of Punjab Police the motivational tool that is promotion is missing for the last 9 years.
Realising the importance of this, the top brass of the police decided to advance officers from traffic, general and executive, and other cadres to the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) to fill the vacant posts, as per details available with the Express Tribune.
However, much to the dismay of officers, career-advancement hopes were quickly dashed by the Police Rules 2021.
Under the previous rules laid out by former IG Javed Iqbal, who served from 2011-2012, a two-year field posting was made mandatory for promotion of police officers of all cadres from grade 17 to grade 18 on the post of SP in their respective cadres.
Then came IG Haji Habib-ur-Rehman, who served the people of Punjab in 2012-2013. He removed the requirement of two-year field postings due to which promotion boards of police officers of other cadres besides traffic were held.
Resultantly, many got promotions apart from the unlucky traffic police officers. Fast forward to the present day and the current government in the new police rules released in January 2021 has reinstated the condition of a mandatory field posting of two years for advancement to the post of SP.
This bureaucratic back and forth weighs heavily on affected officers like Mazhar Ahmed Wattoo, Mohammad Ahmed Saleem, Shahbaz Dhako, and Ikram Khan who after waiting nearly a decade for promotion, had to retire as DSPs due to reaching the maximum service age of 60 years.
Others like them who are disgruntled at the department, told the Express Tribune, on condition of anonymity, that every officer has a dream of being SP, but our dreams were shattered.
“In the internal battle between Ranker and PSP in the police, only traffic cadre police officers have suffered,” they said.
Promotions at last?
Keeping the new rules in mind, the now replaced IG Police, Inam Ghani, convened a promotion board meeting, before his posting as IGP Railway Police, of traffic officers to look at a panel of 21 traffic officers of Grade 17 to fill seven available posts of Grade 18 SP traffic police.
However, two police officers of the general and traffic cadre, Sajjad Haider Bhatti and Shafiq Ahmed, pointed out the new rules do not apply to them as they came after the two officers had completed the junior command course which was the eligibility criteria for moving up the ranks to SP as per the previous rules.
On duty traffic police officers, speaking on condition of anonymity, informed the Express Tribune, that last year only one DSP was promoted to the rank of SP and rest of the cases are pending under the guise of rules.
The officers said, “it is too late for many of our colleagues [to get promoted] as they are going to retire either this year or next.” They demanded that police officials take a bold step and promote this year's traffic cadre officers.
“After waiting 6 years we were sent for the junior command course and now that we have completed the course, we should be promoted to the post of SP Traffic,” they lamented.
The new chief of the Punjab Police, Sardar Ali Khan, seconded the views of the outgoing Ghani and said that merit and transparency would be given priority for promotions to the posts of Inspector, DSP, and SP in the police.
“All police personnel and officers will be promoted on merit and there will be no deviation from the rules and regulations laid down. As far as I know, the matter is all up and soon a meeting of the promotion board will be convened and the officers will be promoted,” Khan told the Express Tribune.
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