By Faisal Ali Ghumman
LAHORE: In what appeared to be an embarrassing move, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal government transferred Inspector General of Punjab Police Muhammad Tahir and posted Amjad Javed Saleemi new Provincial Police Officer.
However, in a quick reaction, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suspended the orders ahead of upcoming by-elections on October 14 and sought explanation by the government about committing violation of election code of conduct.
The ECP also reportedly cancelled 25 transfer orders countrywide made in violation of the code of conduct in the light of ban on transfers and postings before by-elections.
There were reports that ex-IG Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Nasir Khan Durrani also tendered his resignation as Chairman of Police Reforms Commission Punjab owing to premature transfer of the IGP. Sources in the Punjab government say Tahir will continue till the holding of by-elections but it is likely that he may be replaced by Saleemi soon after by-elections.
They say Tahir had been facing undue pressures by the PTI’s government in the discharge of his duties independently.
According to a notification issued by the Establishment Division Islamabad, Amjad Javed Saleemi, a BS-22 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan and presently serving as Commandant National Police Academy under Interior Division, has been transferred and posted PPO, Govt of Punjab, with immediate effect and until further orders.
Mr Tahir, who has served KP as IG in interim set-up before elections 2018, was posted IG Punjab on the orders of PTI government one month ago.
Sources in the Punjab police claim that Tahir, who earlier got the nod of Nasir Khan Durrani for Punjab assignment, had been facing tremendous pressures from certain quarters in the PTI’s Punjab government being run by Sardar Usman Buzdar.
They say contrary to PM Imran Khan’s claims of no political interference in administrative matters, the IG was pressurised in the transfers of police officers linking Model Town killings and a son (who was nominated in a police case) of provincial minister Mehmoodur Rasheed.
The federal government directed the IGP to remove all police officers linking Model Town tragedy from their current postings. IG Tahir transferred the officers from current postings to post them to other positions in Punjab which irked the PTI govt.
Sources add the IGP also refused the orders of the federal government to remove district police heads of Okara, Kasur, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Bahawalpur. “If this is new Pakistan in which the top commander cannot take independent decisions then it will be the worst form of governance in the PTI’s tenure”, said a senior police officer who remained anonymous.
He said the prime minister in his televised speeches and in meetings with the government servants had made tall claims that the field officers would not face any political pressures and that they would work independently.
“Where is tenure stability of a govt officer the PTI government had vowed to ensure”, questioned another police officer?
Ex-IG Punjab Kh Khalid Farooq on his twitter account claimed Nasir Durrani resigned from the post of Chairman Police Reforms Commission Punjab after the transfer episode of IG Tahir. Sources claim Amjad Javed Saleemi, who was posted as IG Sindh during interim government, was notified as IG Punjab on the ‘recommendation’ of Governor Punjab Ch Sarwar.