The federal cabinet on Tuesday decided against appointing Mushtaq Mahar as the Sindh inspector general of police (IGP) after cabinet members from the province expressed strong reservations over the matter.
According to Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed Sindh Governor Imran Ismail to once again discuss names for the new IGP with Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
Briefing the media about the federal cabinet's meeting, Awan said, "After consultation between the prime minister and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Mushtaq Mahar's name had been suggested [in the cabinet] for the Sindh IGP position but cabinet members from the province strongly opposed the idea.
"Keeping in mind the majority view, the prime minister has asked the Sindh governor to discuss the matter with the province's chief minister.
"The two will hold discussions on the other names suggested for the IGP position as well as new names so that a consensus can be reached on the matter," Awan said.
IGP heads to Islamabad
On Tuesday evening, the incumbent Sindh IGP Dr Kaleem Imam flew to Islamabad, where he is expected to meet Prime Minister Imran on Wednesday afternoon, a source from Sindh police told DawnNewsTV.
The source further said that the premier has summoned the police chief in the wake of the Sindh cabinet's decision to replace him and to explain the charges levelled against him by the province's chief minister.
Sindh certain about removal
Earlier in the day, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani had, with much surety, said that Imam would be replaced today.
"There is no deadlock between Sindh and the Centre over the matter and we are expecting that the IGP will be removed today," Ghani had said while talking to DawnNewsTV
The comment had come after Sindh IGP Imam, while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Sindh Police Martyrs Memorial at Central Police Office (CPO) in Karachi, had said that he would not be transferred from his position so easily, adding that a "big conspiracy" was being staged against him.
"The impression being created is that I have been transferred and this ceremony has been transformed into a transfer ceremony. I would like to say that I will not be transferred that easily," Imam had said.
The Sindh inspector general said that when he does go, it will not be a transfer — in fact "it will be a new evolution".
"I will transcend on to new stages," he added.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Imran Khan not only cancelled his scheduled visit to the CPO but also gave a “positive gesture” to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s request for replacing Imam.
The prime minister and provincial chief minister had met at the Governor House and after their meeting many believed that the weeks-long rift between the Centre and the province had almost come to an end and chances that Imam would continue to hold the office of the IGP had become bleak.
The supposed shift in the federal government’s stance had come after Islamabad had categorically told the Sindh government that it would not unilaterally repatriate or transfer IG Imam.
The establishment division in a letter to the Sindh chief secretary had stated that giving charge of the inspector general of police (IGP) to an additional IG would not be compatible with a 1993 agreement between the federal government and federating units.
Earlier, the Sindh government in its January 16 letter to the establishment secretary had stated that "till the time a new IGP is posted, the government of Sindh will assign look-after charge of the post of IGP to an additional IGP (BS-21) currently working in the province".
However, in response to the province’s letter, the federal government in its letter dated January 17 pointed out that "the look-after charge of the post of IGP Sindh cannot be assigned to any additional IGP of police working in the province being not covered under the inter-provincial agreement of 1993".
Meanwhile, the Sindh High Court on January 20 ordered for Imam to not be removed from his post until the federal government replies to the provincial government on the matter.