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‘Political wand’ relegates two SPs to OSDs in Lahore

‘Political wand’ relegates two SPs to OSDs in Lahore

LAHORE: Transfer and posting on political grounds continue to haunt the police department as two SPs of Lahore police have been changed while a female officer has been issued a warning.

The [transferred] police officer Maaz Zafar was serving as Lahore SP operations in Saddar division while Syed Ali remained posted on two positions [in Lahore] as SP operations, Iqbal Town division, and Saddar SP operations. The female police official, Shazia Sarwar, is working as SP investigation of Iqbal Town division.

The Punjab IGP, earlier this month, made Maaz and Ali officers on special duty and issued warning to Shazia to be careful in future.

Officials changed after they filed reports against suspects who wield influence

Action was taken against them in the light of an inquiry conducted by the Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIT).

In its report sent to the IGP, the CMIT had proposed immediate removal of the male SPs from their positions and warning to the lady police officer.

However, later it transpired that the police officers were punished after a local contractor wielded his influence and two members of the Punjab Assembly used their connections, an official privy to the information told Dawn.

He said the inquiry was initiated against them on the complaint of a contractor, Haji Ismail, who was residing in Lahore Saddar division area. He has been running his business through government contracts in the area since long.

He said the complainant had a ‘tainted’ record in the police as over 50 criminal cases were lodged against him at various police stations of the city, particularly in Saddar and Iqbal Town divisions where the SPs had served.

The FIRs were registered against Haji Ismail on multiple charges including extortion, life threats, theft, robbery and murder.

According to the list of criminal cases, 42 were registered against him in Chuhng police station alone during the tenure of the previous governments from 2009 to Feb 2019 so far.

The official said during posting as SP Saddar from June 22 last year to Oct 30, Maaz had lodged three cases against Ismail on multiple charges including extortion, blackmailing and hurling threats at citizens.

As the complainant was said to be a business partner of brother of a PTI member provincial assembly, he took up the issue with the Punjab government through an MPA of the ruling party.

Meanwhile, Maaz was transferred from Saddar division and posted as SP City division, he said.

The official added as the government was not happy with his posting in the provincial capital, he was again transferred and posted as SP Kasur.

Likewise, similar issues surfaced in Iqbal Town division where a minister showed his utter displeasure when Syed Ali lodged a case against an influential man of the area, Waheed Khan, on charges of attempted murder [for injuring a citizen].

The official said the suspect in the case managed to lodge cross version against the injured citizen and the SP quashed his case.

The official said the minister later met the then IGP Amjad Javed Saleemi and complained against Syed Ali.

The IGP suggested the SP to enhance coordination with the minister to ‘avoid troubles’.

Defending his position, Syed Ali brought to the notice of IGP the criminal record of Waheed Khan and his links with the minister and his brother, he said.

The SP also sent a report to the police high-ups against local DSP Mian Riaz for implicating citizens in false cases with the connivance of Haji Ismail.

The situation irritated the police high command and the IGP transferred Syed Ali from Iqbal Town division and posted as Saddar SP, the official said.

He said during his tenure as Saddar SP from Dec 22, 2018 to May 2, Syed Ali lodged some seven criminal cases against Haji Ismail on the complaint of government employees and locals on multiple charges, including extortion.

The local PTI MPA again took up the issue with the Punjab government regarding registration of ‘fake’ cases against Haji Ismail.

In order to counter the allegations, the official said, Syed Ali dispatched a confidential report of the livestock and dairy development department to the police high-ups for consideration.

Sent to the Punjab home department in 2015, the report had provided details of 45 FIRs registered against Ismail.

Through the report, the livestock department had sought detention order of Haji Ismail in the public safety. A copy of the report is also available with Dawn.

The report reads, “Haji Ismail is a very notorious criminal gangster having history of putting safety of life and health of public at danger through his criminal mafia activities”.

Syed Ali submitted this report to the IGP through the then DIG Operations Waqas Nazeer.

However, at a time when the case against Haji Ismail was pending with the police authorities, the IGP made both SPs OSDs.

The action against three SPs sent an alarm among the police community which believed that the trend of transfer and posting of senior cops at the behest of criminals or on political grounds would demoralise the force.

IGP retired Capt Arif Nawaz told Dawn that his department would not let the criminals and political figures influence reshuffle in police.

“Seriously, I am unaware of the issue that the SPs in-question had some issues with the criminal of the area or any political factor that led to their transfers,” the IGP said.

He said he would look into the matter and would not allow ‘thugs and land grabbers’ to create issues for police officers in Punjab.

The IGP said there were also many other factors behind the decision of making the two SPs OSDs.

He said so far as the issue of Haji Ismail was concerned, he had issued directions to all the regional police officers, DPOs and CPOs in Punjab to prepare a list of such hardened criminals and submit to him by May 20.

After receiving reports, he said, the Punjab police would be ordered to initiate crackdown on them.

To a question, the IGP said making the SPs OSDs was not a punishment rather a routine action against them.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2019

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