LAHORE: Punjab Inspector General of Police Faisal Shahkar has removed the Vehari DPO on the charges of ‘misconduct/inefficiency’, suspended a DSP and ordered registration of a murder case against six police officials in a fake encounter case.

The major action was taken against them on the recommendation of Multan Regional Police Officer Riffat Raja in the wake of a ‘fake police encounter’ in which a local citizen was allegedly murdered. The Additional IG South Punjab has also formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the incident.

Raja had proposed major penalties against the police officers to the IGP to the extent of DPO Rana Shahid Pervaiz and DSP Sadaqat Ali. The Central Police Office (CPO) issued a notification on Friday. It mentions the words ‘misconduct/inefficiency’ as a major reason behind the removal of the DPO and suspension of the DSP.

These two officers were declared guilty of concealing the facts of the encounter and death of the citizen and delayed action against the police officials involved in the encounter.

An official said it shocked many when the notification issued by the CPO reflected the words ‘misconduct/inefficiency’ against the DPO as this practice was not followed in the past while initiating such actions against other heads of the district police. He said some police officers of the provincial cadre declared it a glaring example of ‘discrimination’ towards DPO Rana Shahid because he was an officer from the provincial police service.

In the recent past, he said, few police officers who were serving as DPOs in Punjab were removed from their posts and directed to report to the CPO for further order. The notifications issued from the CPO had not mentioned any such word like misconduct or inefficiency as all of them belonged to the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP).

Even in the last two decades no such precedent was witnessed, he said, and gave a reference of a former Kasur DPO (a PSP officer) who was removed from the post in the wake of little Zainab’s rape-murder case. He said in that case, a similar incident had occurred when an innocent man was murdered in a staged encounter. The notification of the then DPO’s removal had stated that the officer had been removed from his post and directed to report to the CPO till further order.

He said the provincial services officers had shown resentment over this discriminatory action against their colleague, declaring it part of victimisation of rankers due to the monopoly of the PSPs. He said Rana Shahid as DPO Vehari had lodged a murder case against his six policemen the same day (on Sept 17) when the incident of murder of a suspect in encounter came to his notice.

“This is not a matter of ‘misconduct or inefficiency’ but a matter of conflict between the PSP and the rankers,” the official said.

Rana Shahid Pervaiz told Dawn over phone that the police team was raiding an area for the arrest of a suspect in a case lodged against him. During a crossfire, he said, a man suffered a bullet injury and died, which led to a strong protest by his relatives.

“I immediately issued order to probe the matter and submit a fact-finding report of the incident the same day,” he said, adding that in the evening a murder case was lodged against the six policemen who were part of the raiding party.

The police also arrested one of the officials on his order, he said. He said later the RPO took notice of the incident and sought a report from him. Almost 13 days after the incident, he said, he came to know that he had been removed from the post on the charges of misconduct and inefficiency.

A spokesperson for the Punjab police said on Friday the IGP took a strict action over the killing of a young man, Ali Liaquat, in a fake police encounter in Vehari. He said the IGP removed Vehari DPO Rana Shahid Pervaiz from his post, suspended Saddar DSP Saadat Ali and ordered a case of murder against six other officials.

“On the order of the provincial police chief, the additional IG South Punjab and the RPO Multan conducted an inquiry into the incident and in the light of the report, the IGP issued orders for disciplinary action against the guilty officers,” said the spokesperson.

About the DPO, he said, the IGP removed him from the post for concealing the facts and suspended the DSP from service for covering up the incident.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2022

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