After much deliberation, the government has dismissed a former senior superintendent of Islamabad Police Operations from service, based on the recommendations of an inquiry into his conduct during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) sit-ins last year.
The Establishment division on Tuesday issued a notification dismissing former SSP Mohammad Ali Nekokara. He was suspended in September last year after refusing to stop and later remove protesters after they advanced to Constitution Avenue.
The notification stated that, the establishment secretary imposed “the major penalty of ‘Dismissal from service”, upon Nekokara with immediate effect on the grounds of proven charges including “inefficiency and misconduct”.
Nekokara has the right to appeal against the decision with the appropriate authority within 30 days, the notification adds.
The inquiry report, available with The Express Tribune, states that the former SSP’s claims that he was asked to use force against the protesters is a “deliberate misrepresentation of facts”, adding that the available evidence shows that no police official was directed to initiate use of force, the evidence showing that even the use of “retaliatory force” was only allowed in defence of private or public life and property.
It stated that policemen were deployed for riot control purposes and were not issued weapons. The report found Nekokara to be in violation of the Civil Servants Act, which requires officers to work wherever posted, whether within or outside Pakistan.
According to the inquiry report, Nekokara had argued that he had received verbal instructions authorising the use of force, but could not present evidence supporting the claim.
The charge sheet also accuses him of poor leadership due to his request to the government to be posted elsewhere at a “time of grave crisis”, which also demoralised the police force. Responding to this, the former SSP had claimed that he had continued to render his services till August 31 and his stance was consistent with the letter that he had written to the interior minister on August 26 advising against using force.
On August 26, Nekokara had written a detailed letter to the interior secretary highlighting the importance of not using force. In the letter, he explicitly referred to the mishandling of the Model Town incident, where the use of force led to the death of at least 14 PAT workers. In the letter, Nekokara also said he was averse to the use of force due to the large number of women and children at the sit-ins.
On Nekokara’s argument that the use of force was ‘disadvantageous for democracy’, the inquiry report clarified that his duties do not include assessing the political consequences of his actions as bureaucrats are meant to be apolitical in their conduct.
In response to the sixth allegation, that Nekokara tried to conceal his misconduct behind his “fallacious” apprehensions at loss of life, despite being instructed to only use retaliatory force, the report states that the former SSP overlooked his duty to safeguard the general public and sensitive government installations.
The inquiry team let Nekokara off on one charge, finding that there was insufficient proof to support the government’s charge that Nekokara had leaked information by providing the media with a copy of the letter he penned to the interior ministry.
Nekokara later told The Express Tribune that he would file an appeal before Federal Service Tribunal. “I will follow the legal procedures after consulting my lawyer,” he added, while refusing to comment on the notification.
The PTI — which previously named Nekokara as an accused in FIRs regarding the deaths of protesters during violent exchanges at the end of August — has recently issued statements accusing the government of politically victimising the former cop and has asked the government to let the police function in accordance with the law.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2015.