LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government on Tuesday removed Punjab Chief Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar and Inspector General of Police retired Capt Arif Nawaz Khan, ahead of expected major reshuffle.
Interior Secretary Azam Suleman Khan, a BS-22 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), has been posted as chief secretary and Shoaib Dastagir, a BS-21 police officer, as the provincial police chief. Mr Khan is the third chief secretary and Mr Dastagir the fifth IG during the last 15 months.
Yousaf Naseem Khokhar was asked to report to the Establishment Division.
Mr Khan has spent the major portion of his service in Punjab. He has served as Kasur deputy commissioner, Dera Ghazi Khan and Faisalabad district coordination officer, irrigation secretary, communications secretary, and additional chief secretary home. He belongs to the 14th Common Group.
Sources said since there had been a lot of pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan to replace Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for his ‘poor governance’, he removed the IGP and chief secretary to give an impression that it was the bureaucracy which was responsible for his government’s performance.
A senior analyst who met the PM last week had told news channels that the PTI chief believed that since the Sharifs had ruled the province for more than 20 years, they had influence in the bureaucracy which was failing them.
A notification issued late on Tuesday by the Establishment Division Islamabad reads, “Mr Shoaib Dastagir, a BS-21 officer of Police Services of Pakistan, presently serving as Managing Director, National Police Bureau under Interior Division has been transferred and posted as provincial police officer.”
“Mr Arif who was appointed in April this year was replaced by his junior colleague without giving any justification of his premature transfer (just seven months after his posting),” said a senior officer.
The outgoing IGP had replaced BS-22 police officer Amjad Javed Saleemi who was also removed from the key slot some six months after his appointment as head of the provincial police force. Mr Saleemi was appointed the IGP when the PTI government had removed Mohammad Tahir from the top slot a month after his posting as Punjab police chief.
Mr Tahir’s abrupt removal had upset Nasir Khan Durrani who tendered his resignation as chairman of the Punjab Police Reforms Commission, the official said.
According to the official documents, the Punjab government had recommended to the prime minister three names for the appointment of one of them as IGP Punjab. The two others were Mohammad Mushtaq Mehar and Ahmad Latif.
The frequent transfer of IGPs of Punjab has kicked off debate as the senior cops believe that they are not against the ‘change of face’ rather the humiliating way the heads of the largest police force have been shown the door in violation of the law.
Earlier, they said, Mr Nawaz served as the Punjab IGP for 11 months and his second tenure just spanned only seven months which is a matter of serious concern.
Officials expected massive senior-level administrative reshuffle in Punjab as a result of meetings between the chief minister and prime minister so as to improve governance here. Changes are expected in the police department as well.
(Intikhab Hanif also contributed to this report)
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2019