Inspector General Police (IGP) Punjab Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera has retired from service after serving for more than three decades in the police.

Sukhera's retirement leaves Arif Nawaz with the additional charge of IGP Punjab.

The replacement of Sukhera is considered ‘very crucial’ ahead of the coming general elections.

Later last month, a sudden move by the federal government to spare the services of Islamabad Inspector General of Police Tariq Masood Yasin for posting in Punjab a few weeks before the retirement of Sukhera had surprised senior police officials.

Some senior police officers Dawn talked to are convinced that Yasin may get some important assignment in the largest province since he has delivered up to the satisfaction of those who matter during his 11-month service as the Islamabad police chief.

“Since Yasin is junior to other officials being tipped for the coveted slot, he may be considered for any other important assignment like the next Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Lahore,” says a senior official. Yasin belongs to the 17th Common while his senior colleagues are from the 14th and 16th Common.

Sources said three senior police officers are leading the 'race' to the all important office. They are Punjab’s Additional IGP Operations Arif Nawaz (14th Common), Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Amin Wains (16th Common) and Punjab Highway Patrol Additional IGP Amjad Javed Salimi (14th Common).

Police circles consider Arif Nawaz better placed among the three for his closeness with the outgoing IGP whose recommendations to the chief minister can matter. Nawaz has actively launched IT-based initiatives under Sukhera.

The Lahore CCPO is another strong candidate for this slot for having sound profile, particularly for heading the provincial capital and launching many IT-based initiatives. He is also considered to be in the good books of the chief minister and other important circles.

Another official said Special Branch Additional IGP Faisal Shahkar and Training Additional IGP Usman Khatak are also being considered for the IGP slot. He said Khattak is senior to all those being tipped for the slot but he is due to retire later this year.

He said Faisal Shahkar is known as a thorough professional police officer.

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