LAHORE: The by-election controversy in the Daska’s NA-75 constituency has put the Punjab police’s higher authorities in hot water and necessitated examining the role of Sambrial Deputy Superintendent of Police Zulfiqar Virk and the ‘activities’ he conducted during elections as complained by the local and national leadership of the PML-N.
There was also another controversy that brought the role of Daska DSP Ramzan Kambo into spotlight when he was suddenly sent on a four-week medical leave while the election drive was gathering momentum.
An official privy to the information said that DSP Kambo was sent on leave by the office of the Inspector General of Police on Jan 15.
He said the regional or the district police officers were authorised only to take such initiatives in case of an inspector or the officers of below rank.
The official said Zulfiqar Virk was assigned additional charge of DSP Daska in the absence of Mr Kambo and he performed his official duty for three weeks.
Meanwhile, the PML-N’s local and national leadership lodged complaints and protests on Virk’s ‘controversial’ and ‘mysterious’ role in the constituency and the police authority’s decision to transfer officials ‘abruptly’ in NA-75.
The ECP took notice of the complaints and the top police authorities replaced Zulfiqar Virk by DSP Pasrur Mazhar Gondal and then DSP Traffic Mazhar Fareed instead of bringing Ramazan Kambo back to perform his official assignment.
The official said police high-ups believed that Mr Kambo was unable to perform high-profile assignments or handle any law and order situation being officer of an average ability.
He said the PML-N leadership continued to raise objections to the [alleged] reports that Sambrial DSP Zufliqar Virk was targeting its workers in Daska to please the rival candidates.
Finally, Ramzan Kambo resumed his duty on Feb 15, a few days before the polling date following the concerns of the PML-N local leadership.
However, the unrest, firing incidents, scuffles, disappearance of presiding officers and the complaints of misuse of power on polling day further put the role of the Sambrial DSP into spotlight.
The police official said the top leadership of the Punjab police believed that the Gujranwala RPO and the Sialkot DPO had nothing to do with the mismanagement in the by-poll.
He said a series of meetings were held at the district, region and at the level of the IGP for a probe to fix responsibility for the mishandling of official assignments or security during the polling day.
There were also some reports about possible transfer/postings in Daska or at the level of the district in connection with the recommendations of the ECP which had declared the Daska by-poll null and void and ordered re-election.
To a question, the official said the senior police officers have been tipped off to track movement of DSP Zulfiqar Virk through geofencing especially when the police high-ups had withdrawn from him the additional charge of the Daska DSP post.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2021