LAHORE: The Punjab government has prematurely changed yet another Lahore police chief and posted DIG Ghulam Mahmood Dogar new Capital City Police Officer (CCPO).

Outgoing CCPO Umar Sheikh has been transferred and posted Deputy Commandant of Punjab Constabulary, Farooqabad. Mr Sheikh has been removed from his post a few months after his appointment as Lahore CCPO on Sept 2.

The news of sudden transfer of Umar Sheikh went viral in police circles and generated quite a debate about the fact that he was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s choice for the slot but Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has removed him because of controversies. The prime minister in some official meetings held in Islamabad and Punjab openly lauded Mr Sheikh and put his weight behind him when he entered into a dispute with IGP Shoaib Dastagir who was later transferred from the province.

Interestingly, the prime minister had also a word of praise for Mr Dastagir but he was unceremoniously removed a few days later. Now the CCPO has been transferred despite open support by the premier.

Some independent observers say controversies associated with Mr Sheikh since his appointment as CCPO may be one of the reasons that annoyed the chief minister and forced him to take decision of his removal from the slot.

The officer says probe into disputed land in DHA cost him the job

“The move of my transfer was started by a senior bureaucrat from the chief minister secretariat a month ago and it picked up momentum two weeks ago,” Umar Sheikh told Dawn. He claimed that the sole reason behind his premature transfer was an investigation into 54-kanal disputed land worth over Rs8 billion in the Defence Housing Authority.

He said his action against some highly influential personalities of the city did not go down well with the power corridors of the Punjab government and led to his transfer when the bureaucrat holding key slot misled the CM about him.

The police circles declare the transfer of Umar Sheikh as quite unfortunate for him. An official said Mr Sheikh was involved in controversies right from the beginning and he went to the extent of passing aggressive remarks at an official meeting against the then IGP Shoaib Dastagir. He said the differences between the two officers later widened to the extent that the Punjab police community divided into the groups.

A group of 50 senior police officers including Lahore’s all officers joined heads, held an important meeting at the Central Police Office (CPO) and passed a strong-worded resolution against Umar Sheikh for ‘disgracing’ the IGP.

He said Umar Sheikh also made indiscreet remarks in the motorway gang-rape incident which sparked outrage.

Later, the CCPO also used powers of the DIGs of investigation and operations and sent many policemen behind the bars while bypassing the departmental procedures. He said some incidents of rift between Mr Sheikh and senior police officers also surfaced and many of them were shown the door for daring to challenge his directions.

Recently, his criticism of the judiciary for releasing the accused persons arrested in the criminal cases also annoyed courts. Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan took exception to alleged contemptuous media statements of former CCPO Sheikh against courts.

DIG Ghulam Mahmood Dogar has previously served the Punjab police as RPO of Faisalabad and Sahiwal, CPO of Gujranwala and Multan, DIG Operations Lahore, and the Chief Traffic Officer Lahore.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2021

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