Inspector General (IG) of Punjab Police Habibur Rehman has sought to nominate himself for a Sitara-i-Imtiaz for “remarkable contributions” during the terrorist attack on the Police Training School in Manawan in 2009, The Express Tribune has learnt.
In July, the IG wrote a letter to the Cabinet Division of the federal government nominating himself and five other police officials for medals, breaking several rules and irking the Home Department in the process.
The Home Department has asked the chief minister to withdraw the nominations and censure the IG, as he lacks the authority to correspond directly with the federal government, said an official of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on the condition of anonymity. “He communicated directly with the Cabinet Division without the approval of the Punjab government, thus violating the rules,” he said.
In the letter, Rehman wrote that the six officers deserved medals for their “remarkable contributions” during the Manawan attack on March 30, 2009, when around a dozen gunmen took over the police training school for around eight hours. Eight policemen, eight gunmen and two civilians were killed in the attack and the subsequent siege.
Rehman, who was capital city police officer at the time, nominated himself as well as Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Zulifqar Hameed, Superintendent of Police (SP) Maroof Safdar Wahla, SSP Muhammad Wasim, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Jawad Qamar and Sub Inspector Muhammad Ali Butt. Rehman said that he should be awarded the Sitara-i-Imtaiz, while the rest should be awarded the Pakistan Police Medal (PPM) or the Quaid-i-Azam Police Medal (QPM).
The Cabinet Division, upon receiving the letter and noticing that it did not have Punjab government approval, contacted the Home Department. The department confirmed that it had not been aware of the nominations.
The Home Department later submitted a summary to the chief minister detailing the violations of protocol by the IG. The letter stated that according to Rule 47(III) of the Rules of Business 2011, the Police Department is an attached department of the Home Department and all correspondence between the government and the heads of attached departments, regional offices, autonomous bodies and district governments is to be conducted through the secretary of the department concerned.
The department said that citations for medals are supposed to be countersigned by the home secretary, not the IG. It said that the Police Order of 2002 gave the IG some financial and administrative powers, but not such to correspond directly with the federal or other provincial governments.
The Home Department pointed out that under National Police Bureau criteria, citations should not be sent for incidents more than a year old. The Manawan attack was over three years ago. The department also said that a judicial inquiry of the incident, though completed, had yet to be made public, so it was unclear if the medals were deserved. The department asked the chief minister to withdraw the citations forwarded by the IG and to direct him to stop such practices.
The federal government announces civil awards on August 14 and they are presented on March 23. The president confers these awards and presents them at the federal level, while the governors present them on behalf of the president at the provincial level.
Police Public Relations Director Nabeela Ghazanfar said that she had no knowledge of the matter.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.