‘Karachi operation police team being replaced gradually’

Updated May 31, 2014

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In this March 7, 2014 photo, police officers escort alleged criminals arrested during an operation in Karachi. — Photo by AP
In this March 7, 2014 photo, police officers escort alleged criminals arrested during an operation in Karachi. — Photo by AP

KARACHI: The high-profile police officers posted in September 2013 just days after the targeted operation was launched in Karachi under a federal government plan are being replaced one by one, sparking uncertainty in the police ranks and speculation about the future of the operation, it emerged on Friday.

With removal of Karachi police chief AIG Shahid Hayat and the DIG-West following the order of the Supreme Court, rumours about the imminent transfer of the DIG-South and the DIG-East were seen to be creating uncertainty, according to the three senior police officers who spoke to Dawn on Friday on the condition of anonymity.

Certain powerful elements who might have faced ‘difficulty’ in exercising their influence in the presence of Mr Hayat were trying to bring in their ‘like-minded’ officers, said an officer.

Though the officer believed that the chief minister of Sindh was not happy over the emerging development, another police officer said that rumours about the transfer of one DIG were rife partly because his subordinate officer enjoying political patronage did not like his superior.

The Rangers director general, leading the operation, was particularly perturbed over the development, said one officer.

Referring to the flurry of meetings which the Rangers DG held with the Sindh chief minister, governor, chief secretary and federal interior minister recently, the officer said that the force wanted to at least retain the remaining team of the Karachi operation if Mr Hayat could not be brought back.

The officer familiar with the recent proposals moved to the chief minister by the police authorities said that there was a proposal to appoint ex-AIG police Karachi as the DIG CID to lead all specialised units of the police. In order to accommodate him, the government might not appoint additional IG CID, added the officer.

He said he believed the removal of Mr Hayat was a ‘political decision’. As the federal government had extended support to him, the provincial government was considering ‘engaging’ him here, said the officer.

However, a police officer close to Mr Hayat told Dawn that the government could have retained him by pleading his case before the apex court if it wanted.

“I don’t think that the government wanted to appoint him as the CID DIG,” added the officer. He said the authorities wanted to remove all senior police officers of the Karachi operation team but gradually.

Apart from Mr Hayat, some other Grade 20 officers had also been recommended for different posts, said the officer familiar with the development. However, he added that so far the CM had only accepted the proposal for appointing the DIG for Karachi West. The chief minister had turned down the proposal for appointing Bashir Memon as RRF (rapid response force) DIG, said the officer.

Other officers reportedly recommended for DIG-South and DIG-East posts were believed to be the DIG-Establishment and DIG-Mirpurkhas, said the officer.

The police officer said the provincial government might implement those proposals gradually as it did not want to create media hype and annoy the federal government soon after the removal of the Karachi police chief.

Meanwhile, there were vacancies of several police officers from Grade 18 and above in the Sindh police, said the sources. They added that there were 207 seats of senior positions of Grade 18 and above in the 109,000-strong police force.

These included 129 officers in Grade 18, 43 in Grade 19, 24 officers in Grade 20, seven officers in Grade 21 and one in Grade 22.

Thirty-one of the 43 officers are in Grade 19. Similarly, there are four vacancies of DIGs (Grade 20) and there are three vacancies of Grade 21 officers.

This situation is partly a result of the fact that the federal government had not sent senior officers for deputation to Sindh and partly because the provincial cadre police officers were not being promoted on time. There are 400 DSPs who have not been promoted for a long time while SPs of provincial cadres have filed a petition before the Sindh High Court for their perceived due promotion, said the sources.

They added that the establishment division with the approval of the then president of Pakistan in 1985 had issued a notification, which stated that 40 per cent of the strength of the senior cadre posts of that province be given to the provincial cadre police officers.

The sources revealed that the total strength of Grade 18 and above officers in Sindh was 207 whereas 40pc of the 207 was 82. However, they added that in the Sindh police there were no provincial cadre officers in grades 19, 20, 21 and 22.

Published in Dawn, May 31th, 2014