LAHORE: Punjab police chief Faisal Shahkar refused to work with the current political setup in the province led by Chief Minister Parvez Elahi after PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi passed ‘hateful and insulting’ remarks against him at a rally.

Faisal Shahkar decided to part ways with the provincial government after an ‘argument’ with CM Elahi in a meeting on Saturday night.

An official privy to the development said Mr Shahkar took the opportunity to share his grievances with the CM over the “frequent political interference” in the police department and the recent criticism of the PTI top leadership on the police.

Mr Shahkar said the provincial government was “directly making postings across the province and contacting the RPOs and DPOs to get decisions of [its] choice”.

Decries ‘frequent political interference’

According to the source, Faisal Shahkar conveyed to the CM that unwarranted criticism over the delay in the registration of FIR of the gun attack on PTI chief Imran Khan and subsequent ‘hateful’ remarks made by Mr Qureshi were “unacceptable” to the police department.

While addressing IG Punjab in a loud tone at a rally in Lahore, Mr Qureshi said, “IG Punjab, if you couldn’t gather courage to get the FIR lodged through your DPO and SHO, then I curse (laanat) on your uniform”.

Later, the IG submitted a request to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to withdraw his services, the official said.

While talking to Dawn, the police chief said that the difference of opinion between the chief minister and the IG police on the appointments/transfers of police officers was a routine matter.

“But the situation was different…the Punjab police have completely been politicised due to frequent interference by the current political setup in Punjab,” Mr Shahkar said.

“This was not acceptable at any cost for me as provincial police chief and I thought it better to refuse to work in the current circumstances,” he said.

‘Tug of war’

The official source said the volatile political situation deepened the crisis in the Punjab police when the PML-N and the Punjab government began to target the police officers, accusing them of being ‘loyal’ to rival parties.

It is evident from the recent action of the PML-N government in the Centre which suspended Lahore CCPO Ghulam Mahmood Dogar from service for not complying with the earlier order of the Establishment Division to relinquish his charge.

Police unhappy with remarks

In an official statement, the provincial police strongly reacted to the use of “offensive words” by Mr Qureshi police. The spokesperson said the use of “derogatory remarks “was very sad and unethical”.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2022

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