ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has requested Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja to take action against Inspector General of Police (IGP) Syed Kaleem Imam over his alleged misconduct and “refrain him from being partial” ahead of the by-election in the provincial assembly constituency of Umerkot.
The request was made by PPP’s central election cell chief and former senator Taj Haider through a letter sent to the CEC on Tuesday, five days after the Sindh police chief, who has been at odds with the PPP-led provincial government for quite some time, through a communication to the ECP sought transfer of the senior superintendent of police and the deputy commissioner of Umerkot.
Mr Haider apprised the CEC that the IGP had written the “controversial letter” eight days after the announcement of the election schedule in contravention of the Section 5(4) of the Elections Act, 2017.
The Election Commission of Pakistan had earlier announced that the by-election for PS-52 Umerkot seat would be held on March 17. The seat fell vacant on Jan 19 after the demise of PPP MPA Syed Ali Mardan Shah who had been elected five times from the same constituency.
Writes letter three weeks before Umerkot by-election; minister accuses the Sindh police chief of appeasing his political rivals
“One expects that the officials of the government would have knowledge of a legal provision, which has so often been publicly discussed. Unfortunately, the IGP Sindh while raising doubts on the integrity and neutrality of the above-mentioned district officials has once again exposed his partiality and bias which is unworthy of a high-ranking official,” said Mr Haider in the letter, a copy of which was released to the media by the PPP.
Mr Haider requested the CEC “to take action against the official guilty of misconduct and order the said official to refrain from being partial and restore the dignity of the office he holds”.
The ECP had on Feb 19 written a letter to the Sindh chief secretary and the IGP about removal/transfer of the deputy commissioner and SSP of Umerkot district.
The IGP in his Feb 20 reply stated 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 the ECP. “This will ensure transparency of the by-election in district Umerkot.”
IGP Imam also received the ire of the PPP when last week he took notice of an open display of arms by plain-clothes men accompanying Sindh minister Taimur Talpur at an open kutchehry and reportedly asked the Karachi police chief to take legal action in the light of the finding of an inquiry into the incident, besides submitting a detailed report.
The IGP gave the orders after a video went viral on social media in which Mr Talpur was seen addressing a gathering while two men holding rifles could be seen accompanying the minister.
The minister, however, said 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.
Mr Talpur accused the IGP of trying to appease the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led federal government.
He said the IGP’s performance was exposed when MPA Shahnaz Ansari and journalist Aziz Memon had been murdered in Naushahro Feroze as both had requested for police protection, but the same had not been accorded to them.
PPP deputy information secretary Palwasha Khan in a statement had alleged that the Sindh police chief had already exposed himself by writing a letter to the CEC.
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 kutchehries of elected representatives. Who has given [him] the authority of taking notice of elected representatives’ open kutchehries?” she asked.
“This is a violation of the service act and action should be taken against Kaleem Imam,” she demanded.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2020