KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Inspector General of Police Dr Syed Kaleem Imam on Sunday took notice of an open display of arms by men accompanying a provincial minister belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party at an open katchehry held on Saturday in the Hazara Colony area.

The IGP, who has been in the cross hairs of the PPP-led Sindh government for quite some time, took notice of a video that went viral on social media in which Sindh Minister Taimur Talpur was seen addressing a gathering with two men with rifles in their hands also present.

Police sources said the IGP asked the Karachi police chief to submit a detailed report that why plain-clothes men were openly displaying arms in the meeting of the provincial minister.

He also directed the city police chief to take legal action in the light of the finding of an inquiry into the incident.

Minister says armed men were his private guards

Minister Talpur said in a statement that he had hired services of private guards for his security in district South.

“The guards have licensed weapons and a formal permission has been sought to this effect as per [the requirements of] Section 144 of the criminal procedure code,” he said. “It is incomprehensible for me as to why the IGP has taken cognizance of keeping licensed arms by guards.”

PPP lashes out at police chief for taking notice of arms’ display and recommending transfer of Umerkot SSP

He also accused the IGP of trying to appease the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led federal government.

He said that the IGP’s performance was exposed when MPA Shahnaz Ansari and journalist Aziz Memon were murdered in Naushahro Feroze as they both had requested police protection but the same was not accorded to them.

He said the murder of Memon was a ‘conspiracy’ against the Sindh government.

Because of such conspiracies and dissatisfactory performance of the police, the minister said, he was compelled to hire personal guards for security.

Arms’ display created fear in people: PTI

The parliamentary party leader of the PTI in the Sindh Assembly, Haleem Adil Shaikh, said in a statement that Minister Talpur through an open display of arms during a public gathering had tried to create fear in the public.

He said there was a ban on open display of arms and the minister had violated it.

He urged the police and other authorities to take legal action against the minister.

Umerkot by-poll: IGP asks ECP to remove SSP

Separately, in response to a letter of the Election Commission of Pakistan, the IGP stated that SSP-Umerkot Aijaz Ahmed Shaikh should be removed from his post to ensure transparent by-poll there.

The ECP on Feb 19 had written a letter to the Sindh chief secretary and IGP about removal/transfer of deputy commissioner and SSP of Umerkot district.

The IGP sent a reply on Feb 20 stating that his office had already sent ‘misconduct’ reports to the Sindh government against the incumbent SSP, who had been charged with ‘delinquency, unprofessionalism and dereliction of duty’ as “his actions have been biased and prejudice”.

“Keeping in view the misconduct reports and background related to the continuity of his posting in the district, it would be appropriate to replace him with a non-controversial officer as district superintendent,” according to the IGP’s letter to ECP. “This will ensure transparency of the by-elections in district Umerkot.”

PPP accuses IGP of favouring PTI in Umerkot

PPP’s Deputy Information Secretary Palwasha Khan said that the Sindh police chief had exposed himself by writing a letter to the chief election commissioner for the transfer of SSP of Umarkot district.

In a statement issued from Islamabad, Ms Khan said that it seemed that Dr Imam had assumed the responsibility of PTI’s Umerkot district president.

“The Niazi government is using IG Imam as the viceroy of Sindh. He is so exposed that now he is taking notice of open katchehries of elected representative. Who has given the authority of taking notice of elected representatives’ open katchehries,” she asked. “This is a violation of the service act and action should be taken against Kaleem Imam.”

She said that IG Imam was still in Sindh to look after the interest of the PTI and all reservations of the Sindh government were proving right.

Ms Khan said that the federal government was needlessly interfering in Sindh’s issues and it should stop negating the mandate of the people of Sindh.

“The selected government is violating the Constitution and after IG Imam’s exposure as a PTI supporter he should be called back to the federation or he could resign to formally join the PTI,” she added.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2020