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GB govt reluctant to relieve IG

July 27, 2011

I felt embarrassed that I was not taken into confidence prior to the issuance of transfer orders of the IGP, CM Mehdi Shah was quoted as saying in a letter.—APP photo

ISLAMABAD: The Gilgit-Baltistan government is reluctant to relieve its Inspector General of Police (IGP) Hussain Asghar and has asked the federal government to explain under which law the police chief has been transferred without approval by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, well-placed sources in the government told Dawn on Wednesday.

Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah presented a letter on Wednesday before the federal cabinet during its meeting, expressing surprise how the police chief of GB was transferred without his knowledge.

The GB CM was quoted in the letter as saying: “I felt embarrassed that I was not taken into confidence prior to the issuance of transfer orders of the IGP.”

The Supreme Court warned Establishment Secretary Sohail Ahmed on Tuesday to bring back all FIA officials investigating important cases, including Mr Hussain Asghar, who was investigating the Haj scandal in which the prime minister’s son was allegedly involved.

As the federal secretary was warned of strict action against him for contempt of court if he did not comply with the court’s orders, Mr Ahmed issued a notification on the same day transferring the GB IGP back to the FIA.

Sources in the government told Dawn that the decision of the federal secretary had raised legal complications as no government official in Grade 19 and above could be transferred from one organisation to another without approval or orders of the prime minister.

They said the government was in a fix whether to accept the transfer of the GB IGP to the FIA or ask him to continue his service with the GB government. But if the government goes with the second option, it will disobey the orders of the Supreme Court.

“If these officials challenge their transfer orders in a court with a plea that no approval was sought from the prime minister in this regard, the notification issued by the establishment secretary can be withdrawn and the court can ask the government that under which law the officials were transferred,” an official of the law ministry told Dawn on condition of anonymity.

Mehdi Shah, the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, who issued instructions to Mr Hussain Asghar to continue working as the IGP till further orders, said in the letter that he would have had no reservations had he been consulted before issuance of the notification of the IGP’s transfer.

He said the GB was a new and small province and discriminatory treatment should not be meted out to it. “I am a democratic person and will not allow anyone to exploit the rights of my province,” he said.

The CM was of the view that in accordance with rules of business, consultation with the chief minister or governor was necessary for taking any decision pertaining to the GB.

“Hence the transfer of IGP is an unlawful act,” he added.

Mr Hussain Asghar, who was the investigation officer in the Haj scandal, had summoned the son of the prime minister to record his statement, angering Mr Gilani. Mr Asghar was then stopped from further investigating the case.

Although Mr Asghar was promoted to the next grade and was made the GB IGP on April 13, his transfer from the FIA was considered a bid by the government to keep him away from the investigation in which he had got several leads and brought the investigation to doors of the Prime Minister House because appointment of Mr Zain Sukhera, a family friend of Mr Gilani, to the Prime Minister House and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) was also questioned during the investigation.