KARACHI: In a renewed effort to remove Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja from his office, the Sindh cabinet on Saturday decided to ask the Centre to post Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the new police chief since he is a grade-22 officer while the incumbent is in grade-21.
The PPP-led Sindh government had twice tried to remove IG Khowaja from his post — first in December when it sent him on forced leave and then in April this year when it surrendered his services to the federal government and appointed Mr Dasti, then in grade-21, as the provincial police chief.
Civil society organisations had approached the Sindh High Court against the removal of Khowaja and on Sept 7 the court ruled that the IGP would complete his term, which could not “under any circumstances be reduced to less than three years” if the provincial government amended or altered the rules at any time.
The provincial government and the PPP bigwigs were not happy with the court decision and some of them had announced that they would approach the Supreme Court.
Sources said that they wanted to remove him because he made such rules which, if accepted in the present form, could eliminate political interference in the police department.
On Saturday, the Sindh cabinet took up the issue of Mr Khowaja’s removal. IG Khowaja was also present in the meeting of the cabinet, which was chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and attended by ministers, advisers, special assistants, the chief secretary and other officials.
Sindh Services Secretary Mohammad Riazuddin briefed the cabinet that the IGP was a grade-22 post, but Mr Khowaja was a grade-21 officer.
The cabinet wants Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the new police chief
He said he was posted on March 12, 2016 on an own-pay-scale (OPS) basis. However, another police officer, Abdul Majeed Dasti, was promoted to grade-22 and his services had been placed at the disposal of the Sindh government. He was made an officer on special duty (OSD), the secretary said.
He said that the Supreme Court had returned all officers posted on an OPS basis to their original posts and, therefore, the posting of IG Khowaja was in violation of the apex court’s orders.
He proposed that the cabinet approach the federal government to get Mr Dasti posted as the new IGP in place of Mr Khowaja who became a “junior” officer.
After his presentation, the CM allowed IG Khowaja to make his case before the cabinet.
The IGP said that when he was posted as the Sindh police chief with the consent of the provincial government by the federal government, the apex court’s judgement against OPS officials was in vogue, which showed that the Centre was mindful of the fact.
He added that since 2005 some 17 IGs had been posted in Sindh and 14 of them were in grade-21. Only three officers were in grade-22, he added.
He pointed out that the IGPs in all the provinces and the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency all were in grade-21. Recently, he said, the Punjab IG was promoted to grade-22.
He said this pattern showed that there was no hard and fast rule to post an official of either grade-21 or grade-22 as the IGP.
The cabinet, however, decided that after consulting the provincial law department the government would approach the federal government to post Mr Dasti as the new IGP as there was one post of grade-22 in Sindh.
Home dept to revisit police’s transfers, posting rules
Earlier, in a detailed presentation on the proposed Sindh Police (Posting, Transfer and Tenure) Rules, 2017, the IGP informed the cabinet that in the light of the SHC’s Sept 7 order he framed draft rules through a seven-member committee headed by an additional IG.
He said that the IGP would have the transfer and posting powers of all the police officials — from grade-1 to grade-21 — which he would use through an “assessment board” and there would be a proper posting tenure.
He proposed that the tenure of additional IGs, DIGs and SSPs should be for two years and the SPs (investigation), SDPO, SHOs and SIOs should get one-year tenure.
He added that the post of SHO should be given to a sub-inspector or inspector who must not be more than 55 and must have qualified the “upper school course” with a minimum length of service in police for seven years.
Talking about premature transfers, the IGP said that there must be compelling reasons for the premature removal of an officer.
Home Secretary Qazi Shahid Parvez informed the cabinet about the recommendations of a ministerial committee led by Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, Law Minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, Advocate General Zamir Ghumro and Law Secretary Iftikhar Shalwani about the Police Rules.
He said that the Police Rules proposed by the IGP were inconsistent with the Police Rules 1934.
He proposed that the powers to transfer and post a police officer up to grade-18 be given to the IGP, but the authority to transfer and post senior officers (grade-19 and above) must lie with the chief minister.
The CM directed the home department to revisit the rules proposed by the IGP as well as recommendations made by the ministerial committee and come up with well-thought-out rules within 15 days.
The cabinet also discussed amendment in Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, draft rules under the Hindu Marriage Act, creation of the Ziauddin University Board of Higher Education, grant of charter to Sohail University and amendment in the Sindh development and maintenance of infrastructure cess act.
Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2017