LAHORE: Setting another example of the administrative mess the PTI government is in, a senior official was sent back to Punjab in less than 24 hours after his posting as the Islamabad operations senior superintendent of police (SSP).

Capt retired Mustansar Feroze, the district police officer (DPO) of Sialkot who was preparing to leave for his new assignment in the capital on Friday, learnt in the afternoon that the Establishment Division had cancelled the notification of his appointment.

Officials in the police and Establishment Division refused to give reasons for withdrawal of the fresh notification. Sources told Dawn that some officers in the police and the capital administration were not in favour of Mr Feroze.

A senior official told Dawn that a social media campaign against Mr Feroze made the Establishment Division withdraw the order it had issued on Thursday.

He said the campaign tried to link him to the Aug 2016 murder of Barrister Fahad Malik, a nephew of federal minister and former president Muhammadmian Soomro, in Islamabad. The social media posts claimed that Mustansar Feroze’s brother Imran, a known lawyer of Islamabad, had appeared as a counsel of the accused. One post stated the officer was the Chiniot DPO at the time of murder and had provided safe passage to the killers.

The SSP (operations) position has been lying vacant since February. The Central Police Office had earlier appointed the then AIG (operations) Sardar Ghias Gul Khan as the SSP, but the prime minster cancelled the order the next day.

Sources said Khanewal DPO Omar Saeed Malik might be appointed as the SSP (operations).

A senior police officer said the withdrawal of Mustansar Feroze’s appointment notification for being a brother of a counsel of an accused was nothing but mockery of the law and violation of the transfer/posting criteria laid down in the Police Order 2002.

He said removal of officers from key positions on weak grounds was demoralising the force.

He said the transfer of three police chiefs from Punjab within a year and removal of many DPOs prematurely in the province had affected the police’s working.

Another senior police officer in the Punjab Central Police Office said that Feroze had been allowed to continue as the Sialkot DPO.

Our Staff Reporter from Islamabad also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2019