ISLAMABAD, July 16: After three years of relentless efforts, it seems Yasin Farooq, a grade-19 officer of the Police Services of Pakistan (PSP), has been able to get the post of Islamabad’s Senior Superintendent of Police once again.

Sources within the police, Interior Ministry and Establishment Division told Dawn that even though SSP Islamabad Mohammad Yousuf Malik was still serving, the Interior Minister violated Act 18 of 1981 (under which the city administration was constituted and works) and appointed Mr Farooq in his place.

Apparently the developments had been in the works for over two months: in the third week of May, the Interior Ministry sent a requisition for Mr Farooq’s transfer to the capital police, sources in the ministry claimed.

“It had been decided that he would be appointed by removing SSP Malik, who had been appointed by the PM Secretariat,” a source revealed.

On Saturday, the Establishment Division cancelled a week-old notification transferring Mr Farooq to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from the Punjab Police. The same day, it issued another notification appointing Mr Farooq to the capital police.

On Monday, according to a hand-out issued by the police, SSP Farooq had been named as the new Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Islamabad on the orders of the Interior Ministry after “formal approval”.

It is worth noting that neither the Establishment Division nor the Interior Ministry or Home Department have the power to appoint officers below grade 20. The Establishment Division can only transfer civil servants from one department and province to another, and can only appoint the Chief Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Inspector General of Police Islamabad.

The only authorities that can appoint officers on posts below grade 20 under Act 18 of 1981 are the chief secretaries of provinces and chief commissioner Islamabad, who has the power of chief and home secretaries.

Besides the fact that the Establishment Division overstepped its authority, it also overlooked the fact that there is no other vacant post available for grade-19 SSP officers in the capital.

Police sources told Dawn that the capital police have nine posts of grade-19 officers – SSPs operation, traffic, security, headquarters, Crime Investigation Department (CID), and Assistant Inspector General of Police Establishment, Operation, General and Special Branch – all of which are already filled.

“However, the capital police have 11 officers of grade-19, two of whom are on the strength of the police without any post,” a police official added.

Mr Farooq is a PSP officer whose previous deputations include SSP Operations in Rawalpindi, the Assistant Inspector-General Motorway and SSP VIP security in Special Branch. He has served in the capital police as assistant superintendent of police Saddar.He was first appointed as SSP Islamabad on December 23, 2008 when the then advisor to Prime Minster on Interior Rehman Malik suspected SSP Ahmed Latif over the theft of arms seized by the security forces during Lal Masjid operation from the arsenal of Aabpara Police Station came to light.

However, Mr Farooq could only manage to chair a meeting in the Aabpara police station as a couple of hours later the Establishment Division cancelled his appointment and re-appointed Mr Latif as SSP Islamabad on December 24, 2008.

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