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Fuel refusal to VVIP escort costs DPO dearly

June 22, 2013

LAHORE, June 21: The Punjab government had to transfer Khushab District Police Officer Ihsanullah Bajwa after he reportedly refused to provide fuel to the police escort of a senior Lahore High Court judge during his visit to his hometown around two and half weeks ago.

Acting provincial police chief Khan Baig had made Bajwa an officer on special duty on the orders of the chief minister who took action on receiving information that the VVIP’s police squad was denied diesel.

In the aftermath of the incident, the IGP also issued an executive order to the field police to provide diesel at any cost to the police escorts of VVIPs across the province.

A police source privy to the development told Dawn that the LHC judge visited the Mianwali Central Jail, where Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chauhdry was on an official visit around two and half weeks ago, and on his return to Lahore the judge had a stopover at his Khushab residence.

He said the police squad of the judge contacted the DPO’s staff for fuel supply, but the DPO refused saying his only responsibility was to provide security and not fuel which had to be supplied by the Lahore district police.

The source said the matter was brought to the notice of Chief Minister Shahbaz Shraif who ordered immediate transfer of the DPO on June 19.

The source further said earlier there was no rule or SOP or any order which could bound the district police to provide fuel to the escort vehicles of VVIPs, but police authorities following the incident did not waste time in issuing the order.

Senior police officials Dawn talked to had different opinion over the issue. Some argued that the VVIPs were usually provided fuel from the Motor Transport Office of the district concerned in case of emergency and bills were submitted to the Punjab Motors Branch. Others said limited POL budget of each district made it difficult for officers to meet their own transportation requirements rather than providing fuel to the VVIPs.

According to them, the bills were usually cleared in months.

Meanwhile, acting IGP Khan Baig transferred and posted two SSPs and seven sub-divisional police officers across the province.

According to a handout issued on Friday, AIG Discipline, Central Police Office, Punjab, Dr Muhammad Rizwan was transferred and posted as Lahore SSP (Operations) vice Abdul Jabbar who was transferred and posted in Rizwan’s place.

Khalid Mehmood, SDPO of Islampur Circle, Lahore, was transferred and posted SDPO of Iqbal Town Cirlce, Lahore, vice Shamsul Haq who was transferred and posted as Islampura Circle SDPO; Nasir Mehmmood Bajwa, SDPO of Gulberg Circle, Faisalabad, was transferred and posted as SDPO Mugalpura Circle, Lahore; ASP Dr Nida Umar Chatha, SDPO of Model Town Circle, Lahore, was transferred and posted as SDPO of Garden Town Circle, Lahore, vice Aftab Ahmad who was transferred and posted SDPO of Model Town Circle, Lahore; Muhammad Mushtaq, SDPO of Chung Circle, Lahore, was transferred and posted SDPO of Manawan Circle, Lahore, vice Qaisar Mushtaq, who was transferred and posted SDPO of Chung Circle, Lahore.

A source at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat told Dawn that Mr Rizwan, who earlier worked as district police officer of Rajanpur and Sargodha and Multan city police officer, had been ‘directly’ picked by the chief minister for Lahore police assignment because of his ‘loyalties’ with the ruling party keeping in view PPP’s Aslam Midhana episode in Sargodha and the officer’s repeated transfers (resisted by PML-N’s Punjab government) by the then PPP government from outside Punjab.