Sindh energy minister sends Rs1 billion defamation notice to Shikarpur SSP

Updated Jan 22 2020

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Notice gives Shikarpur SSP 14 days to prove allegations against  Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh. — DawnNewsTV/File
Notice gives Shikarpur SSP 14 days to prove allegations against Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh. — DawnNewsTV/File

Sindh Minister for Energy Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh has sent a defamation notice worth Rs1 billion to Shikarpur Senior Superintendent of Police Rizwan Ahmed.

The notice calls for SSP Shikarpur to prove the allegations of corruption that he has posed against Shaikh within a span of 14 days. Failure to do so, the notice said, will be cause for legal proceedings to begin against the police officer.

According to the notice, Ahmad has made baseless, false allegations to defame Shaikh and his family. The notice further states that Ahmad and Shaikh's opponents have hatched a conspiracy against the minister by creating the untrue "secret report" against the minister. The report, according to the notice, has been "concocted" to affect his political career and "the feeling and aspirations" of his family.

In the notice, the minister has detailed that he belongs to an educated and respectable family, has remained a bureaucrat, has worked as the principal secretary to a former Sindh chief minister and has held the charge of eight administrative departments.

He has further said that the people of Shikarpur have repeatedly chosen Shaikh to represent them, which eventually led him to hold these public positions, as well as be part of the Sindh cabinet.

Sikarpur SSP's 'secret report' and attempted transfer

An investigation report by Shikarpur SSP Ahmed Khan, which surfaced last week, had accused Sheikh of patronising criminals and using them for political and financial gains.

The SSP's report, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, accuses Sheikh of using "his criminal wing against his political opponents and for creating his fear in society", adding that “his men” also killed the son of a political opponent, Shah Nawaz Brohi.

According to the report, which is marked ‘secret’ and addressed to the deputy inspector general of the district, “Sheikh has un-satiable hunger of his control over police [and] constantly pressurises the SSP of the district for posting his loyal police personnel who then leak secret information to him.”

“Furthermore, Imtiaz Sheikh interferes in postings, transfers of police personnel on key posts, such as SHOs, and continuously exerts pressure on the undersigned for posting of police personnel for gaining their loyalty,” it adds.

As proof of his allegations, the SSP has also attached cellular record data of the energy minister, his secretary, son and others close to him, highlighting the number of times they have contacted "wanted" criminals, such as Atto Sheikh, who have dozens of cases registered against them.

“Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh MPA has a gang of criminals who reside in and sell drugs from Chingi Muqam in the jurisdiction of PS New Faugdari, district Shikarpur. Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh, his brother Maqbool Ahmed Sheikh and his son, Faraz Ahmed Sheikh, have private guards who are proclaimed offenders and recorded criminals,” the report states.

The report had come to light in the backdrop of the Sindh government’s decision to replace the provincial police chief, IG Dr Kaleem Imam, citing "compelling reasons".

Earlier, on December 6, the Sindh government had also tried to transfer SSP Dr Rizwan to the establishment division, saying his services were no longer required. Subsequently, the SSP had approached the Sindh High Court against the move, which suspended the notification.

Meanwhile, Dr Rizwan had also taken the matter to the newly-created Provincial Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission, saying he was “surprisingly surrendered from province of Sindh without any prior notice, complaint or inquiry”.

At the time, the IG had written a letter to the Sindh chief secretary, complaining about not being informed of the decision in advance and raising concern that such moves "demoralised the police".

Dr Rizwan is also a member of the joint investigation team as well as the investigating officer (IO) in the Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case, which is pending before an anti-terrorism court, where he is representing the state.