LAHORE, June 9: As the PML-N-led Punjab government has apparently failed to reach an understanding over the appointment of the provincial police chief till Sunday night, the newly-elected chief executive of the province has made two key postings by adopting his old style of choosing officers on his own.
This time with a two-thirds majority in Punjab and non-interference from the federal government, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has again started ‘by-passing’ police authorities in the appointment of top slots.
Mr Sharif, who is known for interviewing and selecting police officers for field postings on his own, seldom gets the feedback from the IGP in such appointments.
The Punjab government had in late hours of Saturday notified DIG Chaudhry Shafique Ahmad as new Capital City Police Officer (Lahore) and DIG Muhammad Tahir Rai as DIG (Operations) Lahore.
Mr Ahmad and Mr Rai have already served as the DIG (Investigation) and the DIG (Operations) in Lahore in the previous tenure of Shahbaz Sharif and ‘got’ his sympathies.
Sources privy to the development told Dawn that Mr Sharif had appointed two senior field police officers without appointing the regular IGP which was a proof of his past track record.
They claimed Mr Sharif though was seriously thinking to retain acting IGP Khan Baig as the provincial police chief, he should have first appointed the IGP to maintain a chain of command.Names of Additional IG Nasir Khan Durrani and Balochistan IGP Mushtaq Sukhera also remained under consideration till Sunday.
Sources said it seemed that the chief minister had started picking field officers who were earlier tested by him or developed comfort level with him. Some officers like SSP Dr Muhammad Rizwan would also be likely to get a key position in days to come.
They said it was likely that all field police officers right from the IGP to the District Police Officer would be picked with political considerations. At least 50 per cent changes were expected at the DPO level, they added.
The posting of the Lahore CCPO has been linked with the recommendation of the National Public Safety Commission which was never constituted by the previous PML-N government under the Police Order 2002 which says: “The federal government in the case of Islamabad Capital Territory and the provincial government in the case of Capital City District shall post a police officer not below the rank of Additional Inspector General of Police as Capital City Police Officer out of three officers recommended by the National Public Safety Commission, or on the recommendation of the Provincial Police Officer, as the case may be.”
A source at the Central Police Office said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif always remained opponent to the PO 2002 because of former president Gen Pervez Musharraf and it was likely that the order might not be implemented in the ongoing regime regarding postings of field officers.
He said the acting IGP held a meeting with the DIG (Headquarters) at the Central Office on Sunday to discuss possible names of new DPOs and transfers of others.
Acting IGP Khan Baig said he was still not aware of any government move about his regular appointment as he believed in notification.
He claimed he was in the picture before appointments of two Lahore police postings.
When asked about his meeting with the DIG (Headquarters) on Sunday, Mr Baig said it was a routine meeting.
Meanwhile, both senior officers assumed the charge of their offices on Sunday.