KARACHI: The legal wrangling between civil rights campaigners and the provincial government over the posting of A.D. Khowaja as provincial police chief is likely to come to an end on Thursday (today) when the Sindh High Court would pronounce its judgement on his appointment.
Headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, a two-judge bench had on May 30 reserved the verdict on a set of petitions against the government’s move to replace IGP Khowaja after hearing final arguments from the petitioners’ lawyer and the provincial government’s chief law officer.
The provincial government’s decision to remove Khowaja from his post has been seen by some as the PPP’s strategy for the upcoming general election.
In April, the Sindh government had sent Khowaja packing after it appointed another Grade-21 police officer, Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti, already working in the province, in his place.
The Sindh government had said it was “surrendering” Khowaja’s services to the federal government and appointed Additional IG Dasti as the IGP till “appointment/posting of [a] regular incumbent by the Establishment Division”.
However, the SHC on April 3 suspended the provincial government’s notification for Khowaja’s removal.
The Sindh government alleged that the petition being heard by the court was filed in collusion by the original petitioner, IGP Khowaja and the federal government “to show the provincial government in a bad light”.
During the hearings of the petitions, IGP Khowaja 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 Khowaja relinquish his post and maintained its stay on his removal till it deliberates the matter.
Earlier in December 2016, the IGP was sent on “forced leave” by the provincial government.
Civil rights campaigners moved the SHC against the decision and subsequently the SHC restrained the Sindh government from sending him on forced leave.
According to the petitioners, the IGP was sent on a “forced leave” on Dec 19 because the Sindh government was “unhappy” with him over several issues relating to the recruitment of constables and suspension of police officers.
Born in a family of traders in Tando Mohammad Khan, Mr Khowaja had assumed charge as IGP in March 2016 after the removal of then IGP Ghulam Hyder Jamali who had found himself at the centre of a National Accountability Bureau investigation into mismanagement of police funds.
Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2017