LAHORE: As many as 70 posts of superintendent of police (SPs) lying vacant in Punjab show that the crime control and law and order have been low on the provincial administration’s priority list.
The official figures obtained from inspector general (IG) of Punjab police in this regard reflect a dearth of senior police officers in the largest province.
Besides, many posts of senior superintendents of police (SSPs), deputy inspector general (DIGs) and district police officers (DPOs) are also lying vacant in the province.
The spokesperson for the Punjab police confirmed that 68 slots of SPs were lying vacant in Punjab, besides some other top positions.
She said that out of the total 68 vacant slots of SPs in Punjab, 18 were to be filled by federal government. Of the remaining 50 slots, she said, 24 fell vacant after those given out-of-turn promotions reverted to their previous ranks after a court verdict, while 26 others could not be filled due to delay in promotions of DSPs to the next rank.
An official privy to the information talking to Dawn attributed the situation to ‘non-seriousness’ of Punjab government.
70 slots vacant in the province
He wondered that the crisis-like situation was going “unnoticed” in a province that had been on the top in reporting heinous crime, specially murders and robberies.
The official said the problem worsened since at least three DPOs and a regional police officer (RPO) left for senior management and staff college courses. The officers who joined the courses are Sarfraz Falki (Behawalpur DPO), Mujahid Akbar (Jehlum DPO), Mohammad Aslam (Vehari DPO) and Bahawalpur RPO Ehsan Sadiq. DPO Toba Tek Singh slot also fell vacant when Rana Shahzad was transferred, he said.
The official said most of the vacant SP positions were in investigations wing, he added. Big districts, including Multan, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala had been allotted at least four each slots of investigations SPs, while the smaller ones got one or two such slots each under the Police Order.
The issue of vacant slots was highlighted when some RPOs and DPOs complained to the higher authorities that number of cases pending investigation had increased manifold because of absence of the SPs, he added.
He said the gravity of the situation could be gauged from the fact that the entire Faisalabad Region was functioning without any SP. Comprising Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh and Chiniot, the region has also no additional SP to look after the day to day issues. Faisalabad was even short of five DSPs, out of the total 12 slots in the rank. Some key slots of Faisalabad district police including CIA SP, Admin SP and Range Crime SP, were also vacant, he lamented.
Same is the case with Sargodha Region where only one out of total 10 slots of SPs was filled. It consists of four districts -- Sargodha, Khushab, Mianwali and Bhakar. The region too has no additional SP.
The official said Sargodha RPO has repeatedly written to provincial police authority for filling the vacant slots but to no avail.
The situation is no different in the provincial capital, the Punjab Counter Terrorism Department and the Special Branch.
According to Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Amin Wains, nearly seven posts of SPs were vacant in the provincial capital alone.
He said the slots of Saddar operations SP, Civil Lines operations SP, Discipline SSP, City investigations, Anti-Vehicle Squad and Legal SP were yet to be filled, besides some other posts in the same rank.
The CTD’s Bahawalpur and DG Khan regions were also functioning without SPs.
Similarly, telecommunication and transport wing of Punjab police was working without top officials.
Telecommunication SSP Shahid Javed, who was holding additional charge of DIG Telecommunication, has been relieved to join Senior Management Course (SMC). Talking about some other factors behind the shortage of senior police officers, the official said promotion cases of assistant superintendents of police (ASPs) and DSPs to SP rank have long been pending due to certain reasons.
He said there was no immediate remedy to the shortage f SPs in Punjab because after promotion, the ASPs and DSPs will be put on the disposal of the federal government with minimum chances of getting posted in Punjab. He added that setting aside out-of-turn promotions by the court also contributed to the situation as more than two dozen SPs were reverted to lower ranks.
Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2016
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