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September 1, 2018

SC to stop political meddling in transfers: CJ

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September 1, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday warned that the top court will not tolerate any political interference in the transfer of civil servants.

The top judge gave this observation while heading a three-member bench hearing the suo motu case of transfer of Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Gondal. The court summoned Khawar Maneka, Ahsan Jameel Gujar and Colonel Tariq Faisal of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Khawar Maneka is ex-spouse of First Lady Bushra Maneka. The DPO was allegedly transferred after trading harsh words with Mr. Khawar. Justice Umer Ata Bandyal and Justice Ijazul Ahsen are the members of the bench.

Taking notice of the incident, the CJP had fixed the matter for hearing on Friday. Notices were issued to the IGP Punjab Kaleem Imam, Additional IGP Punjab and inquiry officer Abu Bakar Khuda Bakhsh, RPO Sahiwal Shariq Kamal and DPO Pakpattan Rizwan Gondal to appear before the court on Friday.

IGP Punjab Kaleem Imam, Additional IG Abu Bakar Khuda Bakhsh and Rizwan Gondal appeared before the court. The court directed Rizwan Gondal and Shariq Kamal to submit their respective affidavits in respect of their statements given to the court by September 3.

The chief justice also summoned Ibrahim Maneka, Ahsan Jameel, DIG Shehzada Sultan, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar's personal secretary as well as his chief security officer on Monday. He specifically directed Additional Advocate General Punjab Qasim Chohan to come up on the next date of hearing fully prepared.

The chief justice also directed the law officer to look into the scope of Article 62(1) (f) of the Constitution so that he may be able to answer their questions. The court also asked senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan to assist it on the matter.

Earlier, during the course of proceedings, the chief justice summoned Khawar Maneka and Ahsan Jameel Gujar; however, he was informed that Mr. Maneka could not appear before the court due to his personal engagements, while Ahsan Jameel Gujar’s phone was not responding. The chief justice observed that they wanted to make the police department fully independent and free from political pressure.

“Don’t you want to see police as an independent organization?” he asked IGP Punjab Kaleem Imam. He further asked the IGP on whose direction DPO Rizwan Gondal was transferred. The chief justice said if the DPO was transferred on the direction of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, then it was illegal.

He said the DPO’s transfer order was issued late at night and asked the IGP if the morning would not have dawned the next day. The IGP submitted that he had served the police department for 31 years with sincerity and honesty but he never came under any political pressure. Imam contended that he could make a statement on oath that Rizwan Gondal was not transferred on political pressure but he faced the action for making a false statement.

Gondal, however, told the court that he was summoned at the Chief Minister’s Office and asked to visit the residence of Khawar Maneka to resolve the issue and later his transfer orders were issued late at night. The IGP submitted that the police misbehaved with a woman but the DPO did not inform him about the exact situation and hence he was transferred.

The chief justice observed that the court will examine the case and warned the IGP that if his statement proved wrong, then he will no more be the police chief of the province and the Establishment Division will be asked to transfer him. The court observed that if the police questioned the lady for security purpose, then it was not the DPO’s fault.

The IGP replied that if the police misbehaved with a lady, then it’s wrong adding that it was a kind of incident which the DPO should have brought into his notice.

Gondal said Mr. Haider, personal secretary to the Punjab chief minister, summoned him and RPO Sahiwal to the Chief Minister’s House on August 24 and when they reached there, first Ahsan Jameel Gujar came in and later the chief minister. He submitted that they had informed the chief minister in detail about the incident and later he received a message through one of his friends Arshad Azeem and later on through Colonel Tariq Faisal of ISI.

To a court query, Mr. Gondal told the court that Ahsan Gujar was the husband of one Ms. Farah, who was a friend of First Lady Bushra Maneka. At this, the chief justice asked if Ms. Farah was the same lady who had facilitated the Nikah process of First Lady at her house.

Gondal further submitted that when he refused to visit the house of Khawar Maneka, he received a call from the chief minister’s personal secretary who told him that the chief minister had told the IGP that he didn’t want DPO Pakpattan in his office and consequently he was transferred.

The court was informed that the police came to know through the commissioner that First Lady Bushra Maneka was coming to the Darbar; however, later they came to know that it was not the first lady but her daughter with whom the police misbehaved after which her father Khawar Maneka came to the spot and took exception to the police behavior.

Inquiry officer Abu Bakar Khuda Bakhsh told the court that the DPO had not conducted an inquiry into the incident that occurred on August 5. Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that it meant DPO Gondal was transferred on the orders of the chief minster. However, the IGP said the transfer was not made on the CM’s direction. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until Monday September 3.

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