ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet approved on Wednesday the appointment of Abdul Majeed Dasti as the new inspector general of police (IGP) for Sindh as per the recommendations of the PPP-led provincial government, sources said.

The cabinet, which met with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair, had also considered the names of Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak and current Punjab IG retired Captain Arif Khan for the key position.

The Sindh government through a letter dated Jan 6, a copy of which is available with Dawn, had recommended the three names to the federal government but, the sources claimed, it had been insisting on the appointment of Mr Dasti, who will replace incumbent IGP Allah Dino Khowaja, known as A.D. Khowaja.

The Sindh High Court had made it mandatory for the government to follow the judgement in the Anita Turab case under which an IGP could not be removed before three years of his appointment.

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The court had ruled that “since the post of inspector general of police has a fixed term associated with it, the rule laid down by the Supreme Court in the Anita Turab case is applicable. Therefore, if at all an incumbent can be removed during the term that can only be for compelling reasons within the meaning of the rule”.

The federal government had with the consent of the Sindh government appointed Mr Khowaja Sindh IGP on March 12, 2016 after removal of then IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali through a Supreme Court order.

Interestingly, the Sindh government in the same Jan 6 letter had also cautioned the Centre against appointing Mr Lak or Capt Arif as their “transfers and postings shall be hit by tenural limitations” set out in the judgement passed by the Supreme Court in a criminal petition in 2015.

In the letter, the provincial government had stated that Mr Dasti was the only BS-22 officer having more than two years and three months service and “can be considered for posting” as the Sindh IGP.

One of the federal ministers, when contacted, said the decision to appoint Mr Dasti had been taken in line with the policies of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to accommodate the recommendations of the provinces to create political harmony among the federating units.

Mr Dasti, working at present as additional IGP in Sindh, had recently been promoted to grade 22. Besides serving on various positions in Sindh, Mr Dasti has also worked as Capital City Police Officer in Balochistan.

In April, he was appointed acting IG after the Sindh government sent Mr Khowaja packing without getting the approval of the federal government. In December, Mr Khowaja was sent on forced leave while responsibilities of the Sindh IG were handed over to Additional IG Mushtaq Mahar.

However, after a few days of controversy and with the court’s intervention, Mr Khowaja resumed the charge of his office.

The provincial government’s earlier attempts to replace Sindh’s top cop had been dismissed by both the federal government and the high court.

According to a handout issued by the Prime Minister Office, officials of the energy ministry gave a presentation to the cabinet on power system constraints for upcoming summer and the requirements for the upgradation of transmission and distribution system in the country.

Discussing the issue of the transfer of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee and cotton-related matters from the Ministry of Textile Industry to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the cabinet constituted a committee headed by Adviser to PM Sartaj Aziz to assess cotton production pattern in the country and submit its recommendations within two weeks.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2018

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