KARACHI: Perceived arbitrary transfer of inspectors general of police in Sindh and other parts of the country over alleged political considerations would likely have serious implications for law enforcement, public interest, police reforms, morale of the force and credibility of the government, says a statement of the Association of Former Inspectors General of Police Pakistan (AFIGP).

The AFIGP expressed its concerns over the fact that the provincial IGPs were increasingly not being allowed to complete their statutory tenure.

It has been pointed out that in the last couple of years, four IGPs were transferred “prematurely” in Punjab, three in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and an equal number in Islamabad.

“In Sindh, situation is even worse as the provincial government is seemingly in perpetual conflict with the IGP,” lamented the former IGPs.

Former IGs believed that the relatively longish tenures of last two IGPs of Sindh were “only due to frequent court interventions on public interest litigations by Karachi’s active civil society.”

It noted with concern that “ousting head of a ... force unceremoniously due to whimsical and arbitrary and political considerations has serious implications for the morale and performance of police service.

“It creates a sense of uncertainty and debilitates the institution from within.”

They believed that in the process, effective law enforcement becomes the first casualty and public interest suffers immensely.

The former police chiefs observed that it was not the case that the government cannot remove an IGP prematurely.

They added that the law provided the procedure for premature transfer of IGP but only when there were “compelling reasons” justifying such actions and only after following a transparent process laid down in law and providing the officer concerned an opportunity of hearing before an independent forum.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2020