LAHORE: The caretaker government in Punjab has transferred prematurely City Police Officer (CPO) Faisalabad Usman Akram Gondal allegedly to please a leading politician of a mainstream political party, making the city a tough station to serve for the officers known for their neutrality.

Mr Gondal (BPS-20), who was posted some six months back as CPO Faisalabad, has been facing a tough time in the second largest city of the province, the hub of the political activities being the stronghold of the PML-N and its rival PTI.

A well-placed official in the Chief Minister Secretariat told Dawn that a leading political figure of Faisalabad who has served against a key position during the last tenure of the PML-N government in the centre wanted to see a police officer of his choice, DIG Rai Ijaz, as the CPO of his city.

He said that the politician geared up efforts when the police officer in question approached him in the city, expressing his wish for the premature transfer of Gondal.

The interesting part of the development was that Mr Ijaz reportedly also came up with another ‘irrational demand’ when he reportedly insisted for the transfer of the RPO Faisalabad too, the official source said.

He had also resisted IG office’s demand to ‘collaborate with illegal’ housing societies

Throwing light on the background perspective of DIG Rai Ijaz, he said, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Sept 15 had declared null and void amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 laws and restored corruption cases against public office holders, which were abolished under the amended law.

Headed by the then Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, the bench had comprised Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah. They announced the decision, restoring graft cases against public office holders that were closed down following the amendments. DIG Ijaz was also among several other government officers and the politicians facing the NAB cases.

The official said Mr Ijaz managed to convince the political leader for his appointment as the CPO along with additional charge of the RPO Faisalabad, a rare setting that was not witnessed in any part of the province so far.

To get these two high-profile posts, the official said, the police officer reportedly spent two weeks in Faisalabad and used his ultimate connections in this regard.

However, he found it hard to get what he wanted due to strong resistance from many quarters concerned when they declared it a ‘funny and childish demand’ that could lead to a crisis in Faisalabad police and resentment in the PSP community, the source said. He added the key political figure, who had come to the support of DIG Ijaz, was also requested to convince him (Ijaz) to restrict his demand to his appointment as the CPO Faisalabad only.

When Mr Ijaz refused to serve under the command of the RPO Faisalabad, the Faisalabad-based political leader stressed upon IGP Dr Usman Anwar for the transfer of CPO Gondal. The official added that the IG office agreed and came up with a proposal to bring any other alternate choice to replace Gondal.

Talking to Dawn about his posting in Faisalabad police, DIG Rai Ijaz confirmed that he was willing to be posted there. He said his name was discussed for the posting as the CPO but for him the best choice was the slot of the RPO keeping in view his seniority and the rank.

However, the competent authorities reserved the right to take the best decision whatever they deemed fit, the DIG said. However, he refused to comment on the matter pertaining to the decision of the three-member bench of apex court and his NAB case.

The official in the CM Secretariat said another leading factor that led to Mr Gondal’s premature transfer was the alleged undue pressure on him from the IG office to hold meetings with the local private housing society owners to get ‘free plots’ for the Shuhadas’ of the police department.

here were reports that Mr Gondal was not in favour of the proposal of the IGP office because most of the owners of the private housing societies had illegally occupied the lands of the local residents. He feared that the land mafia, in return, would put up illegal demands before the Faisalabad police and this practice might bring bad name to the department.

Following the situation, the caretaker government and the IGP agreed in principle for the premature transfer of Faisalabad CPO Usman Akram Gondal and picked up SSP retired Capt Ali Zia who was serving in CM Secretariat as SSP Law & Order.

Finally, Mr Zia was posted as new CPO Faisalabad and a notification was issued late on Saturday.

The official said that some senior police officers came to the support of Mr Gondal as he was enjoying good repute in the PSP community and the police department being an honest and neutral police officer. They suggested to the IGP to give Mr Gondal due respect and accommodate him against any other position suitable to his rank and profile instead of making him the officer special duty (OSD) or posting him against irrelevant position on political grounds.

At this, the official said, the caretaker Punjab government transferred and posted Usman Gondal as DIG Counter Terrorism Department Punjab vice Abdul Ghafar Qaisrani who has been directed to report to the Services and the General Administration Department for further orders.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2023

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