The policemen facing demotions in the ongoing issue of out-of-turn promotions have room to breathe as the Sindh government asked the Supreme Court for two more months, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Several policemen, holding the ranks of DSPs and DIGs and were given unnecessary promotions, were supposed to be demoted to the same ranks as their batch mates, according to an order passed by a three-member bench of the apex court on June 12. Justice Amir Hani Muslim, who was heading the bench, declared the Sindh Police Shoulder Promotions Act void.
Following these orders, the Sindh chief secretary constituted a committee to review each case to forward it to the chief minister, who would have then given his approval for a petition within 21 days of the court’s decision. Even though the Sindh government filed a review petition, it still asked for two months to implement the orders.
An official told The Express Tribune that, after analysing each case, the review committee had finally given its decision in favour of the apex court and asked the government to demote all the officials within 21 days of the court’s orders. “The committee had no option except to implement those orders,” he said. “So when the 21 days passed [on Tuesday], the government asked for two more months. Once those two months end, it will ask for more time until the government or these police officials come up with another option to save their posts.”
If all else fails, all policemen except for the top ten ones will be demoted, the official added. These officers will include SSP Chaudhry Aslam Khan, SSP Farooq Awan, SSP Raja Umer Khattab and SSP Fayyaz Khan.
According to legal AIG Ali Sher Jakhrani, there were around 1,100 officials from the government including the police who received out-of-turn and shoulder promotions. “Except 85 police officials, the rest have now been demoted or sent back to their previous departments.” It is up to the courts to approve the government’s request now, he added.
Another official told The Express Tribune that the government has asked for two more months in a petition filed by the newly appointed Sindh advocate general Barrister Khalid Khan. “In the application, the government has informed the court they have withdrawn the decision to file a review petition,” he said.
Free hand for terrorists
The officials who are facing demotions are still hopeful they will keep their posts, they believe that no one can counter terrorism in the province like they do. “We appealed for more time because if all officials were demoted at the same time, the terrorists would capture the whole city,” said Crime Investigation Department anti-extremist cell chief SSP Chaudhry Aslam Khan, admitting that if they had filed a review petition, it would have been rejected.
The second important reason behind the request was to settle down the administrative affairs of the police department, especially of these police officers, SSP Khan added.
Meanwhile, Special Investigation Unit chief SSP Farooq Awan feels no other policemen would risk their lives like them. “I admit there are a number of police officials who received out-of-turn promotions illegally and they should be demoted,” he said. “We deserved ours but our image has been affected by these officials.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2013.
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