Sindh govt, centre differ over names for new police chief

Updated 18 Jan 2020

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The Sindh government has approached the centre with names of three senior police officers, asking it to appoint one of them as the new inspector general of police, it emerged on Friday. — AFP/File
The Sindh government has approached the centre with names of three senior police officers, asking it to appoint one of them as the new inspector general of police, it emerged on Friday. — AFP/File

KARACHI: The Sindh government has approached the centre with names of three senior police officers, asking it to appoint one of them as the new inspector general of police, it emerged on Friday.

An official familiar with this development told Dawn that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had sent a letter to the Prime Minister Office on Thursday evening in which he proposed the names of Ghulam Qadir Thebo, Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar and Dr Kamran Fazal for consideration.

Mr Thebo, a grade-21 officer, had served as the Karachi police chief and Mr Fazal, also in grade-21, is presently heading the Counter-Terrorism Department as its additional IG.

Mr Mahar is a grade-22 officer and had served as the Karachi police chief. He is presently serving as IG Railways Police.

The official said that Mr Thebo was the “favourite” candidate of the Sindh government, but he was expected to retire within six months.

The provincial govt has drastically cut the police budget after incumbent IGP refused to toe the line

 Centre’s concerns

 Private news channels reported that the federal government had reservations over the three candidates.

They said that the federal government was considering names of Addl IG Motorway Police Dr Aftab Pathan, former Sindh IG A.D. Khowaja and former Karachi police chief Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh for the top job.

According to the police law, an IGP could be appointed after consultations between the federal government and the government of the said province.

Section 12(2) of the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act, 1961 and Revival of Police Order, 2002) (Amendment) Act, 2019 reads: “The provincial government or the federal government may for ‘compelling reasons,’ in consultation with each other, repatriate, or recall, the inspector general of police, as the case may be.”

 IGP was removed for not ‘toeing govt line’

 A source at the CM House told Dawn that the provincial government decided to remove incumbent IG Dr Syed Kaleem Imam and a special cabinet meeting was called to this effect as he was reportedly not ‘toeing’ the government’s line.

The source said police officers nowadays considered themselves as a force and independent and so they did not follow the policy of the government.

However, a source close to IGP Imam cited several reasons for his removal.

The source revealed that the government had decided to transfer the IGP as he was not entertaining or accommodating “illegal and irregular” demands of top leadership of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and its lawmakers.

The source added that the PPP was unhappy because the IGP did not entertain demands of posting of SHOs, DSPs at local level, registered a case against a provincial minister, exposed alleged criminal activities of party leaders and other influential persons and was not giving them space to manoeuvre.

The IGP also did not allow the provincial government to use funds allocated to police to further the interests of MPAs or government.

In rural areas of Sindh, influential persons including lawmakers were allegedly involved in encroachment of government and forestland, as well as harassing their opponents but the current set-up of police did not allow them to use police to carry out their work.

 Sindh govt slashes police budget to punish IGP

Besides, the PPP tried to “corner” the opposition parties with the help of police but it was not being allowed to do so.

The source claimed that in a bid to punish the IGP the provincial government had significantly cut the operational budget of the Sindh police.

The source said that last year Rs13.8 billion was allocated as the operational budget of the police, but a hefty sum of Rs5bn, or 36 per cent of the budget, was slashed by the provincial government.

An amount of Rs1bn was allocated for purchase of arms and ammunition, but only Rs24 million was released and remaining Rs976m (97.5pc) was slashed.

An amount of Rs1bn was allocated last year for purchase of vehicles but in an unusual way, 100pc amount was slashed.

The source said that against the allocation of Rs654m in the head of operational budget of fourth quarter last year, only Rs96m was released and the rest was slashed.

The source said that Rs15.9bn had been allocated for the operational budget this year and out of this, Rs6.12bn was released so far.

A source at the CM House denied the charge that the police budget had been slashed to punish the IGP.

The source said that the funds to the police might not have been released as Sindh was already facing financial constraints because the federal government was not releasing the due share to the province.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2020