KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah told the Sindh Assembly on Thursday that Prime Minister Imran Khan had spoken to him thrice on telephone and "face to face" and discussed the issue of change of the inspector general of police; the latter had assured him of his support to decide the change as soon as he returned from abroad.
"We have discussed this issue three times on phone and face to face. The prime minister has assured me that he would make a decision on it as soon as he comes back," said Mr Shah while replying to a calling-attention notice moved by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Khurrum Sher Zaman during the provincial legislature’s session presided over by Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari.
The PTI lawmaker desired to be informed about any action taken by the Sindh government vis-à-vis reports prepared by a "controversial" police officer, Mohammad Rizwan.
"I have told him [PM] about the increase in the problems in the provincial police; and we have to remove this inspector general," said the CM.
He said he had known it already a few months ago that the police had "plotted" to forge cases against individuals representing the Sindh government.
‘Law clearly says you cannot seek political help, a rule that the IGP broke’
He said a fake case was made against 22 villagers of Shikarpur by the police headed by SSP Rizwan as they resisted the high-handedness of the police. The villagers sent him a complaint in writing on which the chief minister assigned a senior officer to investigate the matter.
However, added Mr Shah, the report prepared by that police officer had not been sent to him by the office of the IGP.
He said the Sindh government had explicitly expressed its lack of confidence in the incumbent IGP who "has now become a party".
Mr Shah said he was the first person who had falsely been blamed for meeting a jailed ‘terrorist’.
"A few months ago a reporter was given access to interview a terrorist who was in police custody with the sole purpose to level false charges against me to defame me," said the chief minister.
"Why don’t you take action [against me] if I had met a terrorist?"
He insisted that IGP Dr Syed Kaleem Imam lacked leadership required for the job he occupied.
He made it clear that only officers who worked according to the people’s representative’s policy could stay in Sindh.
"People have elected us to run the government and no one will be allowed to go against the people’s mandate."
He said the IGP was in contact with the opposition political parties in Sindh who asked the latter to dig out dirt for other politicians.
Mr Shah said the IGP broke the law when he contacted the opposition "as the law clearly states a government officer cannot contact and mingle with politicians.
"The law clearly says you cannot seek political help, a rule that the IGP broke, the conduct also says you cannot go on the media, he spoke to the media, violating yet another law openly."
He said the Shikarpur SSP was not a good police officer, yet, "I posted him on the insistence of the IGP. However, soon after his posting, the DIG concerned snubbed him for his incompetence".
He said Energy Minister Imtiaz Sheikh had been complaining to the IGP about the incompetence of police in Shikarpur, but the IG avoided taking action against his "favourite" SSP.
Because of that, Mr Shah added, Minister Sheikh was blamed for being involved in serious crimes in a badly written report by the SSP that was manipulatively leaked to the media.
Similarly, he added, another report written by the same SSP two years ago against Minister Saeed Ghani was again leaked to the media in a similar fashion.
"These tactics to malign people’s representatives [are] hugely questionable and shameful. Does this police officer work for some intelligence agency to make reports? Why doesn’t he arrest those whom he thinks are involved in crime?"
He said eight of the 22 persons implicated in a fake case in Shikarpur by the SSP were not even in the country at that time.
"The IGP spoke to some opposition people and assured them that he would do everything [for them]," claimed the chief minister.
He said he was not bound to make consultations with the leader of the opposition in the provincial legislature as per law as it was a matter that could be consulted by a government with another; in this case, the Sindh government with the federal government.
Ministers Saeed Ghani and Imtiaz Sheikh also spoke on the charges levelled against them in reports made by SSP Rizwan and thanked the house and the people of their constituencies for supporting them.
The house passed, yet again, The Establishment of the Office of Ombudsman for the Province of Sindh Bill, 2020.
The bill was earlier passed by the assembly two weeks ago and sent to the Sindh governor for his assent. However, Governor Imran Ismail returned the bill by putting a number of objections to it.
The bill empowers the Sindh chief minister to appoint the ombudsman by saying the office of the governor was a constitutional one and therefore his/her functions remain constitutional.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Chawla moved the bill again for its passage as the opposition parties staged a walkout in protest after their demand to hold another debate on the bill did not amuse the treasury benches.
The bill was passed, in the absence of the opposition lawmakers, unanimously.
Food Minister Hari Ram Kishorilal told the house that the government had a stock of 800,000 tonnes of wheat last month and had procured another 400,000 tonnes and those stocks were reaching the province.
Responding to a calling-attention notice of PTI’s Bilal Ahmed, he rubbished the opposition’s charges of incompetence on the provincial government and asked, “name the mice who munched on wheat flour in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in such a huge quantity?”
Earlier, the house adopted a resolution unanimously in which late MPA Syed Ali Mardan Shah’s services to parliamentary politics and his constituency were commended. The lawmaker who returned successful for six times was paid glowing tribute by everyone present in the house.
Labour Minister Saeed Ghani told the house, while responding to questions in Question Hour, that the Workers Welfare Board, Sindh, had taken prompt action against those who remained absent from their duties.
He added that a number of employees who were found absent from their workplaces in the past had also been terminated from service after completion of all formalities.
He said there was no room for ghost employees in the labour ministry. He added that now biometric system was in place that recorded entry and exit of employees of the ministry.
He made it clear that no employee of schools and colleges of the board were taking salaries while sitting at home.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020