LAHORE: The Punjab government removed Punjab CTD DIG retired Capt Sohail Chaudhry from his post within a day and surrendered his services to Islamabad.

An official privy to the Punjab government told Dawn on Monday that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership had marked 30 police officers for their “controversial” actions during the May 25 Azadi March.

Some of them were labelled as being close to the top leadership of the PML-N.

According to the source, former Lahore DIG Sohail Chaudhry, Additional IG Usman Anwar and former capital city police officer Bilal Siddique Kamyana were at the top of the list.

On Monday, the government also removed Mr Anwar and repatriated him to Islamabad. He was posted during the tenure of the PML-N in Punjab on the recommendations of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Being an additional IG (AIG) of the special branch, he was said to be a highly influential police officer and directly reported the police matters to then chief minister Hamza Shehbaz.

Mr Chaudhry was first removed from his post of DIG Operations Lahore on July 31 and posted in the CTD on the recommendations by Inspector General of Police Faisal Shahkar.

Mr Shahkar defended Mr Chaudhry’s posting in the province and convinced the chief minister that any decision like sending him out of the province would be tantamount to ‘victimization’ and consequently, the Services & General Administration Department issued a notification of his appointment as the CTD DIG of Punjab on July 31. The following day, he was surrendered to Islamabad.

Earlier, PTI spokesperson Shahbaz Gill re-tweeted a photo of Mr Chaudhry in “uniform” from his official account with comments: ‘The way Sohail Chaudhry violated laws, it was shameful’. He added the PTI would not forget his ‘actions’, leaving a message to wait for the law to take a course against the police officer.

Following his transfer, Mr Gill again tweeted the notification wherein the services of Mr Chaudhry were surrendered to the establishment division in Islamabad. He wrote: “Now there will be the accountability of those who insulted women, resorted to violence against children and lawyers. Legal action will be taken against them. This is the first step. Now the law will take its course. Khan did not forget May 25. Will not forget”.

Police circles say that the government in Punjab was victimizing the police officers with ‘politically motivated decisions.

In addition to this, the Punjab government also reshuffled 10 more police officers making three of them officials on special duty (OSDs).

According to the notification, Muzafargharrh DPO retired Capt Tariq Walait, investigation SP Ziaullah and Lahore police headquarters SP Awais Malik were removed from their posts and directed to report to the Central Police Office.

Multan city division SP Ahmad Nawaz Shah was transferred and posted as Muzaffargarh DPO; awaiting posting Syed Ali Nasir Rizvi was transferred and posted as AIG Operations at CPO and retired Capt Mansoor Aman was transferred and posted as the special branch SSP.

Lahore Dolphin Squad SP Sayed Aziz was transferred and posted as Lahore security SP; Faisalabad Operations SSP Abdullah Luk was transferred and posted as Lahore police headquarters SP and Faisalabad investigation SSP Mohammad Afzal was transferred and posted as operations SSP of the same city.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2022

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