LAHORE: Sialkot deputy commissioner (DC) Zeeshan Javaid and district police officer (DPO) Hassan Asad Alvi were made officers on special duty (OSD) on Wednesday in the wake of the Daska by-election ‘controversy’. The development took place just a day before their bosses — chief secretary and inspector general of police Punjab — were to appear before the Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) to clarify their positions in respect of serious complaints of mismanagement and rigging in NA-75.
The ECP [on Feb 25] had summoned Punjab chief secretary Jawad Rafiq Malik and IGP Inam Ghani Khan to appear before the commission in person on March 4 (today) and the hearing would decide the fate of these officials.
As the day [March 4] approached fast, the CS and the IGP first removed Gujranwala division commissioner Gulzar Hussain Shah and regional police officer Riaz Nazir Gara on March 2.
Transfer of DPO by chief secretary violates police order
They had moved the summaries to the chief minister for the transfer/removal of the commissioner and the RPO.
Now, they made OSD the Sialkot DC and DPO apparently in a bid to satisfy or ‘placate’ the ECP as the commission had taken notice of the [rigging] complaints, particularly, when some presiding officers ‘disappeared’ with ballot boxes on the polling day, an official privy to the information told Dawn.
He said the action against the four senior officials kicked off a debate among the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) and the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) officers who believed that the CS and the IGP were making their juniors ‘scapegoat.’
According to the notifications issued on Wednesday, the DC and the DPO have been directed to report to the Services & General Administration Department (S&GAD) for further orders.
The official said the Punjab government had made a ‘gross mistake’ while issuing notification of transfer of the DPO (BS-19) in violation of the Police Order 2002.
As per the Police Order 2002, powers would be exercised by the provincial police officer for the transfer of the DPO.
Sub section (1) of section 15 reads, “The provincial police officer may post a city police officer for a city district notified as a general police area and the DPO in a district within a general police area in consultation with the government”.
The official said the notification of the DPO issued by the S&GAD had sent a ‘message’ about the ‘weak position’ of the IGP in his command and control on departmental affairs.
He said it was for the first time during the last 18 years that the transfer order of a DPO was issued by the chief secretary.
Otherwise, the IGPs had been exercising the powers for the transfers of DPOs in consultation with the provincial government.
According to the police order, the IGP is authorised for the transfer of BS-19 police officer in consultation with the Punjab government and the notifications are issued with the signature of the DIG headquarters.
For BS-20 or above grade police officers, the notifications of transfers are issued by the S&GAD.
“It seems the CS and the IGP are making decisions in haste to avoid any possible embarrassment while appearing before the ECP in connection with the Daska by-election controversy. The [erstwhile] Sialkot DC and DPO are still in trouble as the ECP had also recommended to the Establishment Division to place them under suspension,” the official said.
In a related development on Wednesday, the IGP transferred and posted two BS-19 police officials. Of them AIG (operations) Punjab Ghazi Salahuddin was transferred and posted as AIG (finance) against an existing vacancy while AIG (training) Mohammad Zeeshan Raza was transferred and posted as AIG (operations).
As the notification in this respect was issued by the IGP, a senior police officer raised the question why he didn’t exercise this power in the Sialkot DPO case.
Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021