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LAHORE, May 19: Punjab police authorities allegedly plan to deprive at least 1,145 police inspectors (69 of them already promoted to DSP rank) of their right to promotion in ‘violation’ of police rules and rulings of higher judiciary, allegedly to accommodate 230 directly recruited inspectors of 1998 batch.

These ‘under-the-cloud’ inspectors have recently been served show-cause notices against their promotions secured either through courts or regular departmental boards in what they call an attempt to throw them out of the promotion race.

Of them, over 300 inspectors were directly recruited by various governments formed by the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and People’s Party -- 45 in 1993, 29 in 1995 and 230 in 1998 -- by violating police rules which restrict the provincial government to recruiting either constables or ASIs.

Around 12 per cent of these officers have replied to the show-cause notices which challenge their promotions with ‘antedated seniority’ of probationer ASIs and other rankers up to the rank of inspectors and DSPs. A majority of them is planning to challenge the process in a court of law, Dawn has learnt.

However, Provincial Police Officer Aftab Sultan says the notices have been served after circulating provincial seniority list of confirmed inspectors across the province welcoming objections from the ‘affected’ officers, if any.

The IG told Dawn on Sunday that in the last Supreme Court hearing held on May 15, 2013, the bench had ordered the affected officers to submit their written replies regarding objections against the issuance of seniority list rather than terming the list against the law.

He said the latest list had been prepared to avoid further delay in promotion of officers against 250 vacant DSP posts (the process was halted four years ago due to litigation among officers). The show cause notices were only served on those inspectors who got promotions with antedate seniority by bribing or using influence, he added.

Mr Sultan said those who had objections to new seniority list must file replies so that authorities could examine their cases on merit.

The affected officers on the other hand allege they are being deprived of their due right to promotion in violation of Police Rules 1934 which allow promotion of only 10 per cent directly-recruited inspectors.

They question the authorities as to how the officers who were recruited 30 years ago in different ranks and got promoted to the inspector or DSP ranks can be denied their right to accommodate the directly-recruited inspectors who served the department only for 15 years.

Interestingly, around 60 inspectors, who were issued the notices, have either been retired, killed on duty or died of natural causes.

An affected police inspector says those issued notices were either promoted on the orders of previous IGPs or other senior police officers who held boards keeping in view their ACRs and service record.

A letter released to Dawn by a group of affected officers says that during 1993, 95 and 98 the then provincial governments had directly recruited inspectors relaxing rules and going beyond the limit of 10 per cent quota as mentioned in the Police Rules. Section 12.3 of the rules says ‘Except provided in 12.1 and 12.4 direct recruitments may not be made except in the rank of inspector, sub-inspector and assistant sub-inspector, Such appointments in the rank of Inspector, SI and ASI may be made up to a maximum of 10 per cent, 40 per cent and 25 per cent of vacancies, respectively’.

It reads that after their direct recruitment, the inspectors started litigation for getting promoted to DSP rank by ‘maneuvering’ and ‘misinterpreting’ the court orders. “Police Rules are silent about the structure regarding promotion of directly recruited inspectors but on the other hand a person recruited as constable or ASI and SI has a comprehensive structure of promotion till the DSP rank or above,” it says.

The letter further says that on Nov 1, 2012, a provincial seniority list of confirmed inspectors (up to Dec 31, 2006) was issued by the IGP (vide letter AD E-1/10463-96/E-11) and on the basis of that list a letter (4449/EXEC-11 dated Nov 7, 2012) was circulated to all regions and concerned officers to get clearance report of 300 inspectors, but after a month another letter (4829/EXEC-II dated Dec 8, 2012) was issued seeking report of only 180 directly-recruited inspectors which clearly shows the department is planning to promote only these inspectors. This was creating unrest among 90 per cent of the operational officers serving the department for last 10 to 15 years, the letter says.

It also alleges that a senior police officer appointed in interim setup was behind the discrimination who wanted to oblige some officers related to him.

It also questions a provincial seniority list issued on May 10, 2013 (vide No AD E-I/2748-85/E-II dated May 10), showing directly-recruited inspectors senior to rankers in GEB cadre. It was issued without any direction of competent authority or any court or any judicial forum competent to introduce amendments in seniority list of any service in Pakistan. This, it says, is tantamount to contempt of several judicial forums, including Supreme Court, that were hearing matters pertaining to seniority of Punjab police officers. The SC had reprimanded the then additional IGP, Khan Baig, for changing the seniority list before PST could decide the matter as per rules, the letter said.

IG Aftab Sultan said if someone had any objection to the process, he should mention it in the reply sought by the court so that the department could either explain or rectify it.