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Punjab police chief ordered to probe interference in Pakpattan DPO’s transfer

Updated September 04, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Khawar Fareed Maneka arrives at the Supreme Court along with his daughter Mubashira and Gujranwala PTI president Ahsan Jamil Gujjar on Monday.—Online
ISLAMABAD: Khawar Fareed Maneka arrives at the Supreme Court along with his daughter Mubashira and Gujranwala PTI president Ahsan Jamil Gujjar on Monday.—Online

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Punjab Inspector General Kaleem Imam to conduct a thorough and independent probe into how a stranger in the presence of the chief minister can interfere in the administrative matter concerning a senior police officer.

Hearing the transfer case of Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Gondal, a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar also ordered the top police official to inquire into the incidents of the night of Aug 5 when the daughter of Khawar Fareed Maneka — the former husband of the first lady Bushra Imran — was allegedly mistreated by police and Aug 24 when Mr Maneka was chased and stopped at a police picket.

“We want the complete truth to come out,” observed Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

SC also asks IG to look into incident in which first lady’s daughter was subjected to alleged mistreatment by police

The order to conduct the two inquiries came when a teary-eyed Khawar Maneka claimed that the police force that maltreated his daughter was drunk. Clad in a black burqa, the daughter was also present in the courtroom along with her father.

Khawar Maneka also feared about the possibility of a conspiracy behind the two incidents, but brushed aside the claim of maintaining a dera saying the concept was out of his family norms.

The court observed that an appropriate action would be taken against those found guilty or the delinquents identified in the inquiry report by the police chief, adding that the involvement of Ahsan Iqbal Jamil Gujjar — Gujranwala PTI president — who in the presence of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar suggested to DPO Gondal in a meeting to meet Mr Maneka at the latter’s dera amounted to clear interference in the administrative affairs.

“Who is this man who has the cheek to give political dictation to settle the controversy that too in the presence of the chief minister?” the chief justice asked, saying that the court was being misled left, right and centre and even IGs were not coming forth.

Interestingly, Mr Gujjar claimed before the court to be the guardian of Mr Maneka’s children. But the chief justice wondered which court had granted him the custody of the children when their father himself was alive.

During the proceedings, the chief justice reiterated that he was seriously considering invoking Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution against the chief minister on the abuse of authority and why he should not be present in court. The chief justice also expressed his regret over the treatment towards the girl, saying “we as parents understand the sanctity of daughters”.

The court also apologised to Mr Maneka on behalf of the nation.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial regretted that the drunken behaviour of the police could not be tolerated. He said the citizens needed to be protected at all cost. “This is a democratic society where the rule of law prevails.”

DPO Gondal reiterated he was asked to visit Mr Maneka’s dera during his meeting at CM House only to apologise to him. The court said it wanted to uphold the respect and dignity of the police force at all cost.

Meanwhile, Colonel Tariq Faisal of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who was also summoned by the court earlier, explained that he called Mr Gondal only to render some advice that he should not go to the dera after he heard that the DPO, who was his friend and old colleague as they served together for many years, was under immense pressure.

But the chief justice wondered about the role of the ISI in administrative matters and why his superiors should not be called by the court.

The court also warned that Mr Gondal could be suspended and disciplinary inquiry could be initiated if it was established that he failed to act in a timely manner after the Aug 5 incident.

The Punjab IG said the orders to transfer Mr Gondal were issued verbally and one of the reasons behind the transfer was his failure to initiate any action against the Aug 5 incident. The IG also explained that he ordered Mr Gondal to visit the chief minister’s office.

Personal staff officer of the chief minister Haider told the court that Mr Buzdar had asked him to invite the Pakpattan DPO and the Sahiwal Regional Police Officer over tea and that he learnt about Mr Gondal’s transfer in the morning, implying that he had no knowledge of the transfer happening the previous night.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018