ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court on Thursday rejected the federal government’s plea for appointment of a new inspector general of Islamabad police.

Instead, the court directed the government to give acting charge of the IG office to a senior officer in view of the sensitive law and order situation prevailing in the capital after religio-political groups launched agitation against the Supreme Court decision to acquit Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman, in a blasphemy case.

Jan Mohammad, who had been reinstated by the Supreme Court as the IG after his removal by the government last week following a showdown between a federal minister’s guards with his neighbours, was in Malaysia on ex-Pakistan leave to attend a course. He landed in Pakistan early on Thursday.

DIG security Waqar Chohan had been looking after the office of the IG in the absence of Mr Jan Mohammad.

Earlier in the day, the government had approached the SC with a request to immediately hear the plea due to the law and order situation in Islamabad. Subsequently, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took up the petition for hearing.

“Had we not suspended the decision of the IG’s appointment, what would you have done had the officer gone on a foreign visit,” the CJ asked, adding that the government would have to give the charge to someone else.

Talking about the ongoing protests following Aasia Bibi’s acquittal, Chief Justice Nisar said that the government was responsible for maintaining law and order.

“The situation around the country, including Islamabad, is sensitive and the IG is out of the country. So owing to the situation, the court allows the government to appoint an IG on interim basis,” said the CJP, clarifying that Jan Mohammad would remain the permanent IG.

Meanwhile, sources told Dawn that IG Jan Mohammad had returned home. He attended his office on Thursday but neither issued any orders nor signed any routine documents as he found himself in a state of uncertainty, sources added.

Subsequently, the IG left his office to visit the interior secretary who had summoned him.

On Oct 29, the chief justice had suspended the ‘unlawful’ transfer of the Islamabad police chief after it emerged that he had been removed from the post on verbal directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The CJ had taken suo motu notice in the wake of conflicting reports about the reasons behind — and timeline of — the IG’s transfer.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2018

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