Sindh govt moves apex court in bid to replace IGP Khawaja

The Sindh government approached the Supreme Court on Monday to challenge the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) ruling regarding the functioning of A.D. Khawaja as the provincial police chief,

The petition maintained that services of an inspector general of police (IGP) are offered to the province on the will of the provincial governments. It added that the provincial cabinet of Sindh has decided to change the IGP but the SHC had ruled that Khawaja will continue to function as the provincial police chief.

Farooq H. Naek on behalf of the provincial government submitted the Constitutional plea. He pleaded before the SC to declare the SHC order null and void. The petition held Khawaja and the director general Rangers, among others, as respondents.

Earlier on Saturday, the Sindh cabinet had decided to ask the Centre to replace Khawaja with Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the new police chief since he is a grade-22 officer while the incumbent is in grade-21.

The PPP-led Sindh government had twice tried to remove IG Khawaja from his post — first in December when it sent him on forced leave and then in April this year when it surrendered his services to the federal government and appointed Dasti, then in grade-21, as the provincial police chief.

In the latest development on Monday, the provincial government argued in the petition that the order of the provincial cabinet is supreme as per the Constitution.

The Sindh Cabinet had earlier given its nod for the removal of Khawaja in April but the decision was reversed after a judicial intervention. After a months-long tussle with Khawaja, the Sindh government entered into an unannounced working relationship with the IGP last month after the Sindh High Court (SHC) ruled that Khawaja will continue functioning as the provincial police chief.

The Sindh government had in June withdrawn Khawaja’s powers to decide the transfers and postings of senior police officials in the province. However, the court in its judgement restored IGP Khawaja’s powers.

In its short order, the bench had dismissed the notification for removal of Khawaja from the post of IGP, ruling that the provincial government could not remove an IGP without any justification.

The court had also made it mandatory for the government to follow the judgement in the Anita Turab case under which an IGP could not be removed from his post before three years of his appointment.

Recently, the IGP has issued directions for posting of SHOs across the province under a strict criterion and following a test as well as an interview. Apparently, the disagreement between the IGP and the PPP-led government was initiated when the former appointed scores of policemen reportedly on merit.

Sindh govt slammed for trying to remove Khawaja

The petitioners of the Police Reforms Case / A.D. Khawaja Case on Sunday expressed their deep disappointment with the decision of the Sindh government to recommend the removal/replacement of Inspector General of Police Khawaja and non-approval of the Sindh Police (Posting, Transfer and Tenure) Rules, 2017.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, they stated that they were disappointed because both these decisions clearly showed that the Sindh government was trying to subvert the spirit of the Sindh High Court’s ‘landmark’ judgement while ‘pretending’ to implement it.

As to the decision to recommend the removal/ replacement of IG Khawaja with Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti, the petitioners pointed out that this was a repeat of the April 1st, 2017 notification through which the Sindh government had removed the IG and this very notification of April 1, 2017, was declared illegal by the Sindh High Court in its judgment.