Pakistan News

Sindh police chief sent on ‘forced’ leave

Sindh police chief sent on ‘forced’ leave

KARACHI/HYDE­RA­BAD: As the federal government had refused to accede to the request of the Sindh government to remove the Inspector General of Police, the PPP-led provincial government finally got rid of A.D. Khowaja on Monday when he was sent on ‘forced’ leave, paving the way for the appointment of a ‘favourite’ police chief.

Sources said that the top PPP leadership was not happy with the IGP over many issues, including recruitment of 20,000 constables in the police department, suspension of a recalcitrant police officer and then after his reinstatement not giving him the posting he wanted and his action against those harassing sugar-cane growers in the interior of Sindh.

They said that the IGP had refused to accept what he considered the illegal demands of the people close to the ruling party on many matters, and, therefore, the top PPP leadership in a recent meeting held in Dubai decided to send him on forced leave.

The sources said that Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who until recently was supporting the police chief, was also part of that sitting and as soon he returned from Dubai he summoned the IGP to the Chief Minister House on Sunday night and informed him about the decision of his leadership.

They said that the CM asked him to go on leave so that the provincial government could fill the vacant slot with an officer of its liking.

However, a spokesman for the CM House said that the Sunday night meeting was a routine matter and the IGP himself asked the CM to grant him leave of absence.

“All I can say is that I am on leave,” IGP Khowaja told Dawn in his brief response.

A notification issued by Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon said that IGP Khowaja, a grade-21 police officer, was granted 12 days “casual leave with effect from Dec 19 to Dec 30 on private affairs” and three-day ex-Pakistan leave to visit the United Arab Emirates on private affairs with effect from Dec 31.

Mr Khowaja was appointed IGP, Sindh, on March 12, this year after the government removed then police chief Ghulam Hyder Jamali.

In his over nine-month tenure, Mr Khowaja tried his best to bring improvement in the police department, but he gradually went out of favour with the ruling party as soon as he refused to entertain certain “requests” .

When vacancies in the police department were announced, he formed a committee also comprising representatives of the army’s V Corps and the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee to ensure merit in the recruitment process. This step irked the members of the ruling party who wanted their share in the police recruitment in order to appease their voters ahead of the next general elections.

The sources said Mr Khowaja also earned the top PPP leadership’s ire over the issue of recalcitrant SSP Rao Anwar. The officer was suspended for arresting Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izhar-ul-Hasan. Later, his suspension was lifted but still he did not get the post of SSP-Malir although the powerful political elements wanted the IGP to reinstate him to his previous post.

He had been in hot waters after he refused to accept the demand of an influential man, said to be linked with the powerful sugar millers lobby, who was reportedly misusing the police for getting sugar cane supplies for his mills and the IGP ordered the official concerned to stop this practice.

Meanwhile, Karachi police chief Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar, also a grade-21 police officer, has been given additional charge of the IGP, Sindh.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2016

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