The Punjab government on Tuesday removed Shoaib Dastgir from the post of Inspector General of Police, making him the fifth officer to be asked to relinquish the office since the PTI government took the reins.
A notification issued by the Cabinet Division said that the official, who is a BS-22 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan, has been transferred and posted as the secretary of the Narcotics Control Division with immediate effect.
A separate notification added that Inam Ghani, a BS-21 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan, has been made the new provincial police officer. Ghani is the sixth IG to assume charge in the past two years.
The development comes a day after Dastgir refused to work under the PTI government over the recent appointment of Umar Sheikh as the Lahore capital city police officer (CCPO) without his consultation, and had asked the chief minister to transfer him to a “suitable location”.
While talking to reporters today, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar confirmed Dastgir's removal, saying "whoever will be better for the province will be appointed".
Buzdar further said that the federal and provincial governments were in contact over the matter.
"The province runs according to system and laws," he remarked and added: "It is not [acceptable] that we appoint an officer to a position and someone comes and says 'don't appoint them'."
Speaking about the newly-appointed police chief, Buzdar said: "The new IG's foremost priority should be establishing peace in the province."
Addressing the matter later in the day, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that anyone "who can't perform" will be removed, adding that it was the prime minister's prerogative to appoint to the post.
"If anyone becomes a hurdle in implementation of orders, then we will change [them]. This will happen," he told reporters at a press briefing.
AIG refuses to work under new IG
In another development, Additional Inspector General Tariq Masood Yasin refused to work under the new IGP, saying that Ghani is "junior to me in seniority".
"I have served all along with dignity, honour and within a certain set of principles," Yasin said in a letter addressed to DIG headquarters.
In the letter, Yasin urged the government to transfer him "with immediate effect". He added that until the authorities arrived at a decision, his case should be placed before the IGP so he can go on leave.
What led to Dastgir's removal
One of the reasons said to have prompted the IG to approach the chief minister and prime minister were some comments the CCPO had allegedly passed while talking to a few police officers on his first day at the office, which was less than a week ago.
An official privy to the development had told Dawn that Dastgir had met Chief Minister Buzdar on Monday and requested him for a “transfer to any other suitable place”, saying he would not continue as the provincial police chief until the removal of the CCPO.
He was also said to have skipped office on Monday and met with the chief minister in plain clothes, giving the Punjab government the message that he would not accept Sheikh as the CCPO at any cost.
The official source had said that the CCPO’s comments said to have irked the IG were regarding the latter’s impending retirement.
Dastgir had visited Islamabad on Friday and complained to Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking the CCPO's transfer, which was turned down.
On his return to Lahore, the IG had refused to work till the CCPO was transferred. Consequently, all scheduled meetings at the IG office were postponed and Dastgir met the CM on Monday where he had refused to continue on with the post.
Sources had said Buzdar had recommended Sheikh’s name to the prime minister for the CCPO slot. After a 45-minute interview, a federal government team sent by the PM had okayed Sheikh’s name, and the PM accorded his final approval during his visit to Lahore on Sept 3.
The IG was allegedly not taken on board during the entire process.