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ISLAMABAD: A senior police officer, who faced dismissal from service over his refusal to use force against protesters during the 2014 sit-in outside parliament, was reinstated on Thursday.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mohammad Ali Nekokara’s dismissal orders were set aside by a notification issued by the Establishment Division.

“Consequent upon acceptance of appeal by appellate authority/Prime Minister, major penalty of “Dismissal from service” imposed upon Muhammad Ali Nekokara, (PSP/BS-10 Acting Charge) vide notification of even number dated 3-3-2015 is set aside and the officer is exonerated,” the notification read.

“The intervening period shall be treated as leave of the kind due, subject to title,” it further added.

When contacted, SSP Nekokara said: “God has been kind to me and I am very thankful to him. I am also thankful to everyone who supported me at the time”.

In March 2015, the Establishment Division had ordered his dismissal from service, though he was given a right to appeal to the appellate authority under the Civil Servants (Appeal) Rule, 1977 within a period of 30 days.

SSP Nekokara was punished for refusing to use force against protesters from the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistani Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in August 2014.

In the last week of Aug 2014, when PAT and PTI announced that their workers would march on the Prime Minister’s House, SSP Nekokara was the operational commander of the police force assembled in the Red Zone, police officers privy to developments told Dawn.

He opposed any action for fear of deaths, and met with the interior secretary on Aug 26 where he said he would not use force against the protesters because he was convinced that the use of force would lead to killings and a tragedy similar to or worse than Model Town, the officers said.

At the time, he also requested to the secretary to post him out, the officers said, but he was assured him that no use of force would be required.

In response, an order was issued from the SSP office on Aug 27 directing that other supervisory officers should not use force without following the chain of command and due legal process.

But when PAT and PTI activists surged toward the Prime Minister’s House on Aug 30, violent clashes broke out and police beat back protesters with batons and teargas.

Who ordered the use of force at that time is still a mystery.

But a few days later, the interior secretary ordered him to report to the Establishment Division, and subsequently, an inquiry was initiated against him in Nov 2014. Eventually, that probe ended in his dismissal in 2015.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2017