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HYDERABAD, March 14: As many as 218 police officers - 193 inspectors and 25 deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) - are working on higher positions in Sindh on the basis of own pay and scale (OPS) formula.

The Supreme Court has already spoken against the practice, asking the Sindh IG to cancel all shoulder promotions and post senior officers in their place, according to police sources.

The directive was issued again during hearings in the Waheeda Shah case on Monday by a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

Police officers in question are holding these positions thanks to their political connections while senior officers, whose promotions have been confirmed, sit idle and draw salary for doing nothing.

According to Karachi-based police sources, 193 inspectors have been officiating as DSPs while 25 DSPs are working as SPs across Sindh.

On the other hand, 18 Superinten-dents of Police (SPs) have been awaiting posting.

Three senior superintendents of police (SSPs), too, have been waiting for their posting orders after having been placed at disposal of the Sindh government by the Establishment Division.

"There are senior inspectors who are qualifying for promotion while a large number of them are still away to get this promotion. However, when it comes to allowing them to officiate as DSPs, only those are preferred who are junior in service," said a Police Services of Pakistan (PSP) officer.

When the Sindh government was installed, the provincial cabinet in its first meeting, had decided to do away with OPS formula in all government department which had become vogue at the cost of senior officials in Arbab- led Sindh government.

But subsequently the present government itself heavily relied on it and it was quite evident from two successive directives of Supreme Court.

"Only in Hyderabad out of 13 confirmed DSPs, four are holding the charge of SDPO (sub divisional police officer) while remaining nine are against inspectors who can't legally hold this position but due to their "political" connections they are posted there," said a police official of Hyderabad region.

He said that even the IG Mushtaq Shah doesn't subscribe to this OPS theory but he becomes powerless before his superiors.

"Now the IG will have an excuse to enforce his writ as he can now bank on apex court's directive to post confirmed DSPs or inspectors as SHOs," said an official of establishment branch of police.

Police sources said that there are clear directives of IGP Sindh that only inspectors or sub-inspectors with five years of service can be posted as SHOs in police station. But the outgoing and incumbent IGs couldn't get this directive complied.

There are countless cases in which junior SIPs or even those ASIs who have been given shoulder promotion are posted as SHOs.

An official of Central Police Office confirmed that the IG has confirmed that such directives were issued last year. But he was unavailable to confirm or otherwise whether these are implemented.

"Even if we post 58 DSPs - who are awaiting posting - 135 vacancies still remain available whereas departmental promotion committee (DPC) is not being held to dispose of promotion cases," said the PSP official.

He said that not only this but there are 21 cases in which the inspectors who work in BPS-16 have got their salaries fixed in BPS-17 (pay scale of a DSP) from home department.

"It means that on the one hand they were wrongly posted as DSPs on OPS basis and then another wrong was done when their salaries were fixed in BPS-17 which indicate that technically they have become DSPs," he said.

During hearing of Waheeda Shah case the DIG Mirpurkhas Hyder Jamali was inquired about status of inspector Irfan Shah- who as SDPO Tando Mohammad Khan - was seen present in a polling station where the slapping incident had occurred. The DIG told the court that the SDPO is an inspector, but due to shortage of officers, he had been posted as the SDPO."

IG Shah couldn't be contacted on his cell phone. However, DIG (Establishment) Sindh police, Shahid Hayat told Dawn over pone that a meeting has been scheduled for Thursday in pursuance of order of Monday's order of the Supreme Court which has been received in Central Police Office (CPO).

"We have prepared a working paper as to how many junior police officials in difference scales are holding higher cadre positions on the basis of OPS formula or shoulder promotion in Sindh police. The meeting will discuss it and then decision will be taken in the light of apex court's order," he said. He added that the number of such police officials working in different scales/cadres is big.