The Sindh government on Friday withdrew the powers of Inspector General of Police (IGP) A.D. Khawaja to decide the transfers and postings of senior police officials in the province.
Approved by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, the order empowers the Services, General Administration and Coordination Department of the provincial government to issue the transfers and postings of SPs, SSPs and equivalent officers with direct approval of the chief minister.
"Chief Minister Sindh has been pleased to approve that the transfers and postings of Superintendents of Police (BS-18)/ Senior Superintendents of Police (BS-19) and equivalent shall be issued by the Services, General Administration and Coordination Department," read the order issued by provincial Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon.
According to the notification, the order is in accordance with Rule 9(2) of the Sindh Civil Servants (Appointment, Promotion & Transfer) Rules, 1974.
The government's order of August 9, 2016, whereby powers were delegated to the IGP for transfers and postings of SPs and SSPs "is hereby cancelled/withdrawn", read the order.
In April, the Sindh government had sent Khawaja packing after it appointed another Grade-21 police officer already working in the province in his place.
The Sindh government had said it was 'surrendering' Khawaja's services to the federal government and, without waiting for Islamabad’s nod, appointed Additional IG Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the provincial police chief till “appointment/posting of [a] regular incumbent by the Establishment Division”.
However, the Sindh High Court (SHC) suspended the provincial government's notification for Khawaja's removal.
The Sindh government has alleged that the petition being heard by the court was filed in collusion by the original petitioner, A.D. Khawaja and the federal government "to show the provincial government in a bad light".
In a recent hearing of the case, Khawaja offered to leave his post, telling the SHC through his counsel that doing his job had become increasingly difficult under the current circumstances as he has been facing increasing hostility from political quarters, with the provincial government keen to send him packing as soon as possible.
However, the SHC refused to let Khawaja relinquish his post and maintained its stay on his removal till it deliberates the matter.
The Sindh Government’s decision to remove Khawaja from his post has been seen by some as the PPP's strategy for the upcoming general election.
Khawaja’s differences with bigwigs of Sindh's ruling party on issues relating to the removal/posting of police officials before by-elections in some constituencies, his stance on a businessman said to be a close associate of PPP leader Asif Zardari and recruitment in the police department are no secret.
In December 2016, the IGP was sent on “forced leave’ by the provincial government. Sources at the time said PPP leadership was not happy with the IGP over many issues, including his refusal to accept illegal demands of the people close to the ruling party.