LAHORE: Tuesday night police and bureaucracy reshuffle was yet another such exercise in Punjab during the two-year PTI rule that either coincided with prime minister’s presence in Lahore or came immediately after he left the city for Islamabad.
It strengthens the perception of Punjab being remote-controlled from the Centre. The prime minister instrumented a major bureaucratic reshuffle in November last year and continued shuffling the bureaucracy in between. In July, the PM came to Lahore and as he left, the newly posted Lahore Division commissioner and secretary services were transferred, while a provincial minister was made to resign.
Some of the transfers and postings in Punjab police were surprising. Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Zulfiqar Hameed was reportedly transferred despite Inspector General of Police (IGP) Shoaib Dastgir not being in favour of the move.
The regional police officers (RPOs) of Rawalpindi, Sahiwal and Dera Ghazi Khan were also reshuffled as well as several district police officers (DPOs).
Sources privy to the development said the transfer of the CCPO, RPOs and DPOs of Jhang, Mandi Bahauddin and Gujrat was not unexpected. But what surprised the police circles was the reshuffle being announced on the day of arrival of the prime minister in Lahore, suggesting the provincial police officer was not in the loop.
Sources said the IGP had just resisted the transfer of CCPO Hameed whom he believed was a competent officer. The police chief was taken into confidence over the remaining transfers/postings, they said, rejecting the impression that the reshuffle was politically motivated.
Specialised Protection Unit (SPU) Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Umar Sheikh has replaced Mr Hameed as the CCPO for his ‘daring and merit-based initiatives’.
An official said Mr Sheikh had been interviewed by a team of the federal government that recently visited Lahore and recommended his name to the prime minister for the post.
As the PM was unhappy over the reforms in the Lahore police, he okayed the name of Mr Sheikh for his apparent reputation as a professional. Mr Hameed has been transferred and posted as the additional inspector general (operations), while Bilal Siddique Kamyana, awaiting posting, has been posted as the SPU DIG.
Rawalpindi RPO Sohail Habib Tajik has been transferred as he was set to attend a course for promotion to BS-21. He has been replaced by Dera Ghazi Khan RPO Imran Ahmar. The official said Mr Ahmar was willing to be transferred and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had entertained his request in this regard.
DIG (Logistics) retired captain Muhammad Faisal Rana has been transferred and posted as the DG Khan RPO, as the IGP had shortlisted his name for being a competent, upright and professional police officer. The performance of Mr Rana was acknowledged when he served as the Rawalpindi city police officer.
Sahiwal RPO Humayun Bashir Tarar had also requested the IGP for transfer to a non-field assignment owing to some “family issues”. He has been replaced by Punjab Highway Patrol DIG Tariq Abbas Qureshi.
The official said the transfer of the Pakpattan DPO again stirred a controversy. He claimed that the CM was upset with DPO Sahibzada Bilal Umar for lodging a first information report against a local Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA on the complaint of the local lawyers community.
Mr Umar has been posted as the Punjab Constabulary senior superintendent of police (headquarters) in Farooqabad, while no officer has replaced him as the DPO yet. He is the fifth police chief of the district to have been transferred in two years since the incumbent government took charge.
The transfer of Jhang DPO Sardar Ghias Gull had also been under discussion at the Central Police Office (CPO) due to his alleged aggressive policy against the political leadership. Many PTI leaders had allegedly complained to the chief minister against him, as per the official, that he went down hard on them as he was to proceed abroad for scholarship and took an opportunity to create an impression of a ‘tough officer’. He had already submitted an application for official leave.
His services have been placed with the CPO and no incumbent posted as replacement yet.
Moreover, Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin DPOs Tauseef Haider and Nasir Sial, respectively, were already under consideration for transfer by the IGP. Faisalabad Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Ali Raza has been transferred and posted as the Mandi Bahauddin DPO, while the post in Gujrat has been assigned to Umar Farooq Salamat, an inquiries assistant inspector general (AIG) at the CPO.
Mr Salamat has been replaced by Mr Haider as the AIG, while Mr Sial has been posted as the SPU additional director (administration).
Also, Lahore Superintendent of Police (Security) Bilal Zafar Sheikh has been given the charge of the Chiniot DPO. He has been replaced by Hafizabad DPO Bilal Iftikhar.
Faisalabad’s Ali Raza and Lahore’s Bilal Sheikh will be heading a district for the first time and have been provided the opportunity by the IGP keeping in view their good performance, an official said.
BUREAUCRACY: The prime minister came to Lahore on Tuesday to chair the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project and as he left, another batch of five administrative secretaries, a commissioner and five deputy commissioners were transferred.
Late on Tuesday night, the Punjab government notified the transfer of secretary coordination to chief minister Javed Mahmood Akhtar, who was posted as Multan division commissioner. Multan Commissioner Shanul Haq was transferred and asked to report to S&GAD.
Prosecution department secretary Nabeel Javed has been transferred and posted as chief economist, while MD PEF Nadeem Sarwar has been transferred and posted as secretary prosecution.
Secretary I&C Masood Mukhtar has been transferred and his services have been placed at the disposal of P&D Board and Population Welfare department secretary Ali Bahadur Qazi has been transferred and posted as secretary MPDD. Nadeemur Rehman has been posted as secretary human rights.
Toba Tek Singh deputy commissioner Amna Munir was made OSD and replaced by Umer Javed.
Sahiwal Deputy Commissioner Zeeshan Javed has been transferred and posted as DC Sialkot, relieving Nasir Mahmood, who has been asked to report to the S&GAD. Sahiwal ADC (Revenue) Awais Mushtaq has been posted as Sahiwal DC.
Mandi Bahauddin DC Mehtab Waseem Azhar has been transferred and made OSD, while Tariq Ali Basra has been posted as Mandi Bahauddin DC. OSD Saif Anwar has been posted as Gujrat DC against the post vacated by Dr Khurram Shahzad.
Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2020