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LAHORE: A ‘tussle’ between the provincial police and home departments over administrative control of the Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA) witnessed a drop scene on Friday after the provincial cabinet rejected a summary to transfer the authority under the control of the home department.

The issue between the police and the District Management Group (DMG) officers began when a month ago the home department had moved a summary almost silently to the chief minister seeking approval to transfer the control of PSCA from the police to the department.

Consequently, the chief minister accorded approval to the move on April 4, an official privy to the development told Dawn. He said the decision left the Punjab hierarchy shocked as they were neither consulted nor informed about the development.

CM had approved on April 4 proposal unilaterally prepared, moved by dept

The summary was moved by the then irrigation secretary Ali Murtaza, who was holding additional charge of the law secretary at that time. Mr Murtaza is currently additional chief secretary and known as one of the ‘opponents’ of the police department, the official added.

The then Punjab inspector general of police (IGP) Amjad Javed Saleemi and the PSCA management were apparently not taken on board while drafting and submitting the summary.

The official said the matter came to the notice of the police high-ups when the chief minister approved the summary, bringing the police and the DMG officers into confrontation. The relations between the two powerful quarters remained strained over the issue.

After month-long deliberations with the chief secretary and other senior officers to get back control of the PSCA, the Punjab police decided to take up the issue with the chief minister.

A week ago, the official said, the newly appointed IGP, retired Capt Arif Nawaz, visited the Chief Minister Secretariat. He apprised Mr Usman Buzdar about the excessive step of the bureaucracy to gain control of the authority, ignoring legal and administrative procedures.

Mr Nawaz also told the CM that it was the round-the-clock efforts of police officers who established the institution and made it an international standard facility.

The official said the CM endorsed the IGP’s point and assured him of reviewing his decision in the best interest of the authority.

In Friday’s meeting of the Punjab cabinet, the members unanimously supported the stance of IGP Nawaz and rejected the summary earlier approved by the CM to transfer the administrative control of the PSCA to the home department.

Talking to Dawn, the IGP confirmed the development, saying his department had serious reservations over the way the summary had been processed by the former home additional chief secretary, as the police being the main stakeholder and was neither consulted nor taken on board. The summary was moved in clear violations of the PCSA Act 2016, he claimed.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2019