KARACHI: Acting Inspector General of Sindh Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti took charge of his office on Sunday and held a meeting at the Central Police Office to review security arrangements in Larkana for observance of the death anniversary of Pakistan Peoples Party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on Tuesday (tomorrow), according to police spokesperson.Mr Majeed was appointed acting IG on Saturday by the provincial government after it sent IG A.D. Khowaja packing without getting the federal government’s nod.
Mr Khowaja was removed apparently because the PPP leadership felt ‘uncomfortable’ over a host of issues, ranging from transfer/posting of police officials and ‘major reforms’ initiated by him, said sources in the police department.
They said Mr Khowaja had set up a board comprising representatives of the Citizens Police Liaison Committee and the army under which around 18,000 policemen were recruited. He also arranged their training by the army as presently, 4,000 newly-recruited policemen have completed training, 6,000 others are under training and 7,000 are waiting to be trained.
Besides, the outgoing IG also launched a project of setting up ‘police reporting centres’ across the province to change ‘thana culture’ with the help of modern technology. Under the plan, a couple of such centres have been set up in Karachi and Hyderabad as the Karachi police has been given Rs100 million and Hyderabad division police Rs60m, respectively, for this purpose.
To improve response of Madadgar-15 in Karachi, a plan was chalked out with the help of private persons to make all CCTV cameras functional in April.
The sources said that for the first time, IT cadre was introduced in Sindh police, which was unique as other provinces had not introduced the cadre in their police departments. Under the plan, 2,500 information technology experts would be recruited in Sindh police.
Furthermore, Mr Khowaja had taken initiatives pertaining to welfare of policemen and promotion of inspectors and DSPs up to SP level on ‘seniority basis’ as promotions were often challenged before the courts in the past. An emergency fund worth Rs100m was set up to provide medical help to policemen.
However, since Mr Khowaja was not given ‘space’ by the PPP leadership in transfer and posting, he could not bring reforms in the area, said a senior police officer.
The sources said the removal of the IG had triggered ‘confusion and controversy’ as, according to media reports, the federal government did not deem the provincial government’s decision to remove Mr Khowaja and his replacement as per law and rules.
They said the Sindh High Court’s expected hearing of the case on Monday pertaining to sending Mr Khowaja on ‘forced leave’ earlier would be ‘decisive’ in this matter as the court had already issued an ‘order’ that the government could not remove Mr Khowaja. He was sent on ‘forced leave’ three months ago.
But, sources in the provincial government insisted that the removal of Mr Khowaja and appointment of the acting IG met requirements of the law and rules, particularly in view of the Supreme Court’s directives issued in the famous Anita Turab Ali case and Faridudin case.
They claimed that the Anita Turab Ali case enshrined service of an officer at a post for at least one year, which Mr Khowaja had already completed. Secondly, Mr Khowaja was appointed on OPS (own pay scale) basis as he was a grade 21 officer while the post of IG was of grade 22. Mr Majeed was ‘senior’ officer in 21-grade and the provincial government invoked the Faridudin case in which the Supreme Court had called for giving the charge to the ‘senior most officer’ in case of replacement of incumbent officer, said the sources.
Meanwhile, an official statement said the acting IG, while chairing the first meeting at the CPO, directed officials concerned to implement a contingency plan for Z.A. Bhutto’s death anniversary as per its letter and spirit. He warned the officials that any negligence in security matters would not be tolerated.
Separately, the acting IG said he had assumed the charge of his office as per the government notification and all operations and implementation of the National Action Plan would continue without any hindrance. Mr Majeed said coordination with Rangers and federal agencies would be enhanced to further strengthen security.