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KARACHI: The provincial government requested the Sindh High Court on Thursday to throw out the application against the removal of Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja, contending that the authority to appoint or remove the police chief rested with the provinces under the Constitution.

Continuing his arguments on the matter, Advocate General for Sindh Barrister Zameer Ghumro also said that the plea against the government decision on the appointment and removal of the IGP was not maintainable under the law because the Police Act could not be challenged.

He pointed out that the Punjab government recently amended the Police Order 2002 and retained the power to appoint IGP with it. Similarly, he said, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government also enacted a new law for appointment and removal of the provincial police chief.

He contended that the law relating to the armed forces and police could not be challenged on the touchstone of fundamental rights.

Sindh govt says authority to appoint or remove police chief rests with provinces under Constitution

Mr Ghumro referred to a 1985 Supreme Court judgement and said the apex court had ruled that the police force was a provincial subject and it could not be challenged by private citizens under Article 8 of the Constitution.

He argued that public order and police were subjects of the provinces, whereas defence and armed forces were under the control of the federation.

The chief law officer was of the view that matters between the provincial and federal governments could not be assailed in a high court, “rather it is the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court”.

He also pointed out that the Police Order 2002 had been enacted unconstitutionally and it was later rightly repealed by the provinces. The SHC bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, put off the hearing to May 23 when Barrister Ghumro would conclude his arguments.

Earlier, the bench declined to entertain an application requesting the court to ask IG Khowaja as to why he offered to leave his post all of a sudden. The bench directed the counsel to file the application through court office.

On Wednesday, IG Khowaja had informed the court that under the current circumstances doing his job had become very difficult, requesting it to allow him to relinquish his charge. The court did not allow his application.

The provincial government through a notification on March 31 surrendered the services of A.D. Khowaja to the federal government and appointed Additional IG Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti, a grade-21 officer, as acting IGP.

Later, civil rights campaigners approached the SHC, requesting it to initiate contempt proceedings against the government for flaying its orders.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2017