KARACHI: The Sindh government on Friday took back the authority it earlier delegated to the inspector general of police to transfer and post senior SP- and SSP-ranked officers in a move seen as the fallout of an ongoing tussle between the PPP-led set-up and incumbent police chief A.D. Khowaja.

Sindh Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon issued a notification on Friday curtailing the powers of the IGP and empowered the services, general administration and coordination department of the provincial government to issue the transfer and posting orders of SPs, SSPs and equivalent officers with the 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 with the approval of the Chief Minister Sindh,” the notification said.

Critics say move will leave only ceremonial powers with police chief

It said the order was 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9, 2016, whereby powers were delegated to the IGP for transfers and postings of SPs and SSPs “is hereby cancelled/withdrawn”, it added.

With the new order in place, the Sindh police hierarchy confirmed that after its implementation, the relevance of the office of the IGP would drastically go down and it would become only a ceremonial post.

Sources said that whatever ‘formal or informal input’ of the police department there was in the transfers and postings of senior officers had ‘ceased’ to exist. Now, political elites would issue directions to the chief secretary to transfer and appoint the officers without any input of the police department, they added.

They said that the move was much anticipated against the backdrop of the ‘tussle’ between the provincial government and the IGP.

“The serious issue would be that the relevance of the IGP office would go down,” said a top-ranking police officer, who wished not to be named. “What authority or powers have been left with the IGP when he even has no right to appoint his PSO [personal staff officer],” he lamented.

A source in the Sindh government said after the new regulations for the IGP office, the provincial government was also considering fixing the tenure of bureaucrats serving in the provincial institutions.

Only on Friday, the Sindh cabinet was told that the tenure of an officer cannot be included in the rules of business but it was in the rules of business of the provincial government. The transfer and posting of a civil servant is the prerogative of the provincial government under Section 4 of the Sindh Civil Servants Act.

The chief minister constituted a committee to be headed by the law minister to examine and present a draft bill in this regard.

The sources said that the decision ‘to do away’ with the fixed tenure of bureaucrats was taken by the Sindh cabinet, as a petition filed by members of civil society against the transfer of IG Khowaja was pending before the Sindh High Court.

The sources said that as per rules an IGP is appointed for a fixed tenure of five years and by amending the Sindh Civil Servants Act the PPP started flexing its muscles against the provincial police chief.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2017

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