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Request for KP’s CS, IG removal creates unrest in bureaucracy before July 25 polls

Suicide attack on Haroon Bilour in Peshawar

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By Faisal Ali Ghumman

LAHORE: In what appears to be a bizarre move, the caretaker Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) government has most recently recommended to the caretaker federal government to remove the Chief Secretary and the Inspector General of Police after they failed to obey the command of the provincial chief executive in connection with the security lapses which led to a suicide attack on ANP leader Haroon Bilour in Peshawar on July 10.

The reason behind the move has been linked to the casual behavior of Chief Secretary Kamran Naveed Baloch who did not comply with the orders of Chief Minister Justice (retired) Dost Mohammad Khan regarding security as the arrangements for protecting election candidates were not well supervised in the light of intelligence reports.

Baloch has been accused of not submitting security related reports the CM had assigned to him regarding security arrangements in the backdrop of suicide attack which killed around 20 people including Bilour.

A request has been made to the Establishment Division Islamabad to replace Baloch with senior bureaucrat Ahmad Hanif Orakzai with immediate effect.

The Chief Minister also grilled IG Muhammad Tahir in the official correspondence with the federal government and requested for his replacement with Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan, a BS-21 officer.

Tahir has been accused of not complying in true letter and spirit with the desires of the decision taken in the high level meeting held at the CM Secretariat on July 11, 2018 and failing to take necessary action on the alerts, in view of the above and to maintain high profile of security regime and duty after consultation with the competent authority at the federal level (both the ECP and PMO).

There were unconfirmed reports as of Thursday evening that both the offices were transferred to the Establishment Division Islamabad and officers with new recommendations got fresh appointments.

However, telephonic conversations with a senior official at the Central Police Office KP established IG Muhammad Tahir is still in office.

Though the federal government-led by Justice (retired) Nasirul Mulk did not take any decision and both the officers were continuing their duties tillThursday night, the haphazard decision taken by the KP government hardly 12 days before the July 25 elections has sent a shock wave and resentment in the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) and Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) circles.

“It is quite strange that the elections are fast approaching and the KP CM wants to get rid of the senior officers whose services his interim government had earlier sought from the federal government with the consent of ECP. The decision will delay the election related administrative matters at a time when the KP government was formed and administrative shuffle took place bit late than other provinces”, says a senior bureaucrat.

Another PAS officer says to remove the top administrative command merely on security issues will set another bad precedent for governing any province.

A school of thought in PSPs is of the view that both the CS and the IG should have followed the command of the provincial chief executive in letter and spirit because of security threats to the candidates canvassing for polls nowadays.

A senior police officer questions what the KP government will do if another ‘unfortunate’ bomb blast takes place anywhere in days to come?

He opines such abrupt transfers at top level leads to demoralizing the police force.

KP CM Khan, what the bureaucratic circles believe, was actually perturbed over his ‘poor’ command and control after the CS was reportedly found in Islamabad at the time of emergency meeting called by the chief minister.

They say the CM should have showed patience in the entire situation and re-strategize his command in consultation with the provincial cabinet and provincial administration as all the appointments in four provinces got the ECP nod.

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