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CPO in a tight spot over selection of DIGs for repatriation

March 26, 2019

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Punjab police personnel are seen in this file photo. —DawnNewsTV/File
Punjab police personnel are seen in this file photo. —DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: The Central Police Office (CPO) seems to be in a fix over picking names of deputy inspector general (DIGs) that the Punjab government sought for surrendering their services to the Establishment Division.

Punjab Inspector General of Police Amjad Javed Saleemi received a formal request in this regard from the services and general administration department with a special note to implement it in letter and spirit.

The move assumes greater significance in the backdrop of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent statement expressing displeasure over the appointments of senior officers in Punjab for having close association with the previous PML-N government.

An official privy to the information told Dawn that the Punjab government had sought names of three DIG-rank senior police officers, while out-of-province transfers of more officers were also likely in the coming weeks. He said there could be two other motives behind this move of the Punjab government.

First, he said, the federal government wants implementation on the Rotation Policy 2019. In January, the federal government had finalised the policy regarding transfers and postings of the officers of Pakistan Administrative Service and the Police Service of Pakistan.

Many officers using ‘strong connections’ to ensure retention in province

The second reason could be the repatriation of surplus DIGs in the province.

However, the officer said, the CPO was finding it challenging to shortlist the names, as there was a long list of DIG-rank officers and many of them had strong connections that they had started employing for their retention in the province. Out of these officers, some have a long spell of service during the two tenures of the PML-N government as well as the caretaker set-up, the officer said.

Initially, names of six senior police officers of the DIG rank were under consideration at the CPO out of which three would be repatriated to the federal government. These officers had been serving for the last 15 years consecutively in Punjab.

The officer said that on the top of the list of considerations was DIG (Information Technology) Zulfiqar Hameed, who served in prime positions during the last two PML-N governments in Punjab. Mr Hameed was very close to the then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, who gave him high-profile assignments and inquiries into classified matters.

Then Sardar Zubair Khan Dreshak also has one of the longest service tenures in Punjab spanning over 15 years. He undertook field and other multiple assignments. Currently, he is serving as the DIG (establishment) at the CPO, the officer said, adding that Punjab Counter Terrorism Additional Inspector General Tahir Rai was also among those whose service tenure had crossed 15 years in the province.

DIG (Welfare) Gohar Mushtaq Bhutta and DIG (Internal Accountability Division) Ehsan Younis were also among the officers being considered for repatriation on the basis of their tenures of service.

To a question, the officer said it was possible that the final three names selected would not include any of these officers, as there were many more DIGs serving in Punjab for 10 years or more.

The Rotation Policy 2019 reads: “The officers who have served in any provincial government or the federal government for a continuous period of not less than ten (10) years shall be transferred to the federal government or other provinces, as the case may be, in public interest.”

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019