Premature transfers a bane of Punjab police

Published June 3, 2021
The frequent premature transfers of officers and political interference in the core functions of the Punjab Police has made a mockery of the security of tenure as provided for under the Police Order 2002. — AP/File
The frequent premature transfers of officers and political interference in the core functions of the Punjab Police has made a mockery of the security of tenure as provided for under the Police Order 2002. — AP/File

LAHORE: The frequent premature transfers of officers and political interference in the core functions of the Punjab Police has made a mockery of the security of tenure as provided for under the Police Order 2002.

Particularly, the appointment of the district police officers (DPOs) for a short period has become a routine in Punjab, where the average span of field postings did not exceed six months or so in most of the cases.

Reshuffle of another 20 police officers in Punjab, including two DPOs, and the Lahore investigation SSP, is yet another instance in this regard.

Earlier, the Punjab government had to face criticism over the transfers of Mandi Bahauddin and Lodhran DPOs on ‘political grounds’.

Two DPOs among 20 officers reshuffled

The latest transfers are also being seen as an attempt to please the political bigwigs as the Punjab government needs their support for the upcoming budget.

Police circles blame Punjab police Inspector General Inam Ghani for not offering resistance to such decisions of the government.

Hafizabad DPO Dr Rizwan Ahmad Khan is the latest ‘victim’ of the chronic political interference, as he could not retain his first field posting in Punjab for more than four months, an official privy to the development told Dawn.

He said Mr Khan, after serving as Shikarpur (Sindh) SSP for just four to five months, was surrendered to the federal government, allegedly on political grounds in July 2020. He was put at the disposal of the Punjab government and was appointed as Gujranwala investigation SSP in July last year. Only after a week, he was transferred again and was put at the disposal of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). He was posted as Hafizabad DPO on the recommendation of the then Gujranwala regional police officer Riaz Nazir Gara, keeping in view his professional competence, the officer said.

During his posting in Hafizabad, he said, a local MPA got annoyed with Mr Khan for not being “accommodated” by him. The MPA, using his connections in the chief minister’s secretariat, finally got Dr Rizwan Ahmed Khan transferred from Hafizabad on Tuesday, the official said.

He said Dr Rizwan’s transfer was a continuity of the politically motivated decisions, which had become a routine in the strongholds of the ruling party’s ally, PML-Q, in Mandi Bahauddin and the Jahangir Khan Tareen group in Lodhran, where DPOs could not retain postings sans goodwill of political bigwigs.

He said during the tenure of Dr Rizwan as DPO, the Hafizabad remained on the top among 36 districts for showing outstanding performance and the fact was also acknowledged by the IGP himself during official meetings.

Special Branch Lahore Region SP Mohammad Masoom has been transferred and posted as new DPO of Hafizabad.

The section 15 of the Police Order 2002 reads, “The term of office of City Police Officer or District Police Officer, as the case may be, shall be three years from the date of his posting”.

“The city police officer or district police officer may be transferred before completion of normal tenure of three years on specific grounds, such as inefficiency and ineffectiveness with the concurrence of both of the district nazim and the District Public Safety Commission, after he has been heard in person by the District Public Safety Commission.”

The official said since the incumbent IGP took charge the frequency of transfers had considerably increased, especially of the the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) officers.

In May 2021 alone, the IGP made massive reshuffles in Punjab. On May 19, he reshuffled seven officers, on May 18 six others, including DPOs of Layyah and Bahawalnagar, besides dozens of deputy and assistant superintendents of police. Similarly, two officers serving in BS-20 were relieved from Punjab on May 11.

Vehari DPO Zahid Nawaz Marwat was also among the 20 officers reshuffled by the IGP on Tuesday. Marwat, who was transferred just four months after his posting, had won appreciation as Kasur DPO for tracing the culprit who killed children after sexual assault in Chunian. His services had been put at the disposal of the Establishment Division, Islamabad. Lahore Investigation SSP Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, was transferred and posted as Vehari DPO vice Mr Marwat. Mr Niazi was posted as Lahore investigation SSP in March this year.

The IGP also transferred Lahore chief traffic officer Syed Hammad Abid and posted Punjab Motor Transport SSP Muntazir Mehdi as new CTO.

Awaiting posting, Mansoor Aman was posted as new Investigation SSP of Lahore, besides other officers reshuffled in Lahore, Gurjanwala, Faisalabad, Multan etc. as per the notification issued on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2021

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