PTI chairman Imran Khan addressing a news conference on Wednesday. KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak is also seen.—Online
PTI chairman Imran Khan addressing a news conference on Wednesday. KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak is also seen.—Online

ISLAMABAD: Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) have expressed displeasure over recent remarks passed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on the failure of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police to nab the culprit behind the rape and murder of a child in Mardan.

“A well-planned campaign is being run against the exemplary KP police,” PTI chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday, without elaborating and before asking KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak to defend his police.

Mr Khan was speaking at a news conference with the KP chief minister after signing an agreement between a provincial holding — Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Company of the KP Government (KPOGCL) — and a Russian consortium of investors, including the Inter-Rao Engineering and the Himmash Apparat partnered with Orpheus Energy, for the establishment of an oil refinery in KP province.

When a reporter drew the PTI leader’s attention to the remarks passed by the chief justice during the hearing of a suo motu notice case of the rape and murder of a three-year-old girl in Mardan, Mr Khan said he knew there was a lot of criticism against the police, which he said had brought down the crime rate in the province. He added that the KP chief minister and party spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry would hold a separate news conference on the issue of police performance.

Says PML-N government is deliberately buying expensive electricity to secure commissions and kickbacks

Later at the second press conference, the two PTI leaders claimed that the KP police were the best among the police forces in all provinces. They said their claims were based on evidence, facts and figures which showed that the crime rate in the province was at an all-time low over the last five years.

Addressing the chief justice, Mr Chaudhry asked him not to develop a false perception about police performance on the basis of one or two incidents. He said that comments should be made while keeping in view the overall performance of the police.

“We have heard that the KP police have become very efficient in the province, but your incapability has made you dependent on others...that is why so much time is being consumed,” the chief justice had observed during the hearing. The CJ had also taken notice of the murder of a third-year medical student — Asma — who was killed in front of her house in Kohat for rejecting a marriage proposal. The suspect in the case had fled to Saudi Arabia.

“What is going on, why have the police failed to prevent the murder of Asma who was killed publicly in broad daylight,” observed the CJ, who had criticised the KP government for not having a forensics laboratory in the province.

Mr Chaudhry said close to 1,200 police officials had sacrificed their lives in the province while performing their duties. He said the Punjab police had recently killed an innocent citizen in Kasur, and a large number of people had been killed in over 400 fake encounters in Sindh. He said not a single person had died in an encounter in the KP.

Speaking to journalists, Mr Khattak said there used to be a time when no political party could hold public meetings in the province due to the poor law and order situation. He challenged naysayers to compare the performance of KP police with the police of any other province.

The chief minister was of the view that there should be no criticism of the police based on one or two incidents. He claimed that the police would soon arrest the culprits involved in those murders.

Mr Khattak said the police in his province had been working independently and without political pressure. He said even he could not interfere in police affairs and the only powers he had was to constitute a committee to hold a probe if any wrongdoing was reported. He claimed that his government had improved the intelligence sharing network in the province and it was his government which had established the first-ever counter-terrorism unit in the country.

A new forensics laboratory will also soon start functioning in the province, he promised.

At the earlier news conference, Mr Khan and Mr Khattak accused the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government at the centre of creating hurdles in the way of the KP government’s plans to build power plants in the province.

“KP is producing cheap electricity and has generated 78MW power, while projects to generate 4,000MW are under way. The federal government is not buying electricity from KP nor is it adding it to the national grid,” Mr Khan alleged, while stating that he was responding to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who had challenged the KP government on the issue of power production.

The PTI chief alleged that the PML-N government was deliberately buying expensive electricity to secure commissions and kickbacks. Mr Khattak alleged that the federal government was refusing to issue no objection certificates to the provincial government’s projects.

The MoU signed between Russian company and KP government is a proof that corruption has been rooted out from the province. He asked the federal government to resolve the issue of hydel power as soon as possible.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2018