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September 2, 2018

Pakpattan incident: Inquiry vindicates IGP, vilifies DPO for imagined offences


September 2, 2018

News Analysis

ISLAMABAD: An inquiry into alleged manhandling of Khawar Farid Maneka appears to be a bid to save the skin of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Syed Kaleem Imam and to scapegoat the Pakpattan DPO Rizwan Umar Gondal for, what turns out to be, the imagined offences.

Khawar Farid Maneka is the ex-husband of First Lady Bushra Maneka.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, who is at the center of this controversy for pressuring Mr. Gondal into submission has not been made part of the inquiry, raising questions about the professional integrity of Kaleem Imam who had ordered probe into the matter but tailored its ToRs in a manner that all the big fish go scot-free.

As for Khawar Maneka’s alleged misbehavior with the police, the inquiry has left this matter inconclusive, noting it needed further probe. However, it suggests action [against him] in case he is found guilty.

The charges against Mr. Gondal are imagined at best and expectations from him in the event of such crisis are as much idealistic.

He must have taken action, the inquiry committee rules, after the first incident occurred on August 5, no matter the complainant didn’t file complain despite Gondal’s urging him.

As the former DPO has mentioned in his statement that no official authority (RPO or IGP) ever directed him to go to the dera of Khawar Maneka, “it is perplexing to see why he encouraged this impression,” reads the inquiry report

Surprisingly, at no point has it been reported in the media that DPO Gondal alleged his police bosses for issuing any such direction. Instead, he named Ahsan Jamil Gujjar for forcing him to patch it up with Maneka by visiting him at the dera. Before that, he mentioned having received calls from an ISI Colonel Tariq asking him for the same.

Kaleem Imam confirmed before the Supreme Court that Tariq was ISI Commander Faisalabad area.

The only police official Gondal named was one of his course-mates currently studying abroad who approached him for the purpose. This is all what he reported before the Supreme Court of Pakistan late Friday. The names for the interlocutors he named for the first time before the SC bench. While the inquiry committee didn’t approach the above accused to determine the veracity of charges, it has blamed Mr. Gondal for “he encouraged this impression” that as if he was directed in this regard by his police bosses.

Likewise, the inquiry committee has accused Mr. Gondal of not conducting probe into the incident that occurred on August 5 when the police had stopped Maneka’s burqa-clad daughter and son for identity as they walked barefoot to Pakpattan for attendance at Baba Farid shrine.

This charge has been levelled despite admitting the fact that Mr. Gondal had asked Maneka to visit the DPO office for lodging a complaint in writing and that his grievances, if any, will be addressed. Also, this admission is part of inquiry report that Maneka agreed but said his son, who was intercepted, would come. Similarly, neither side has disputed that Maneka’s son didn’t go for reporting the complaint.

Nevertheless, the inquiry officers thought the probe into August 5 incident should have been conducted.

“If an inquiry had been ordered after the incident of August 5, 2018, the matter must have unraveled before the District Police Officer and he could have taken action if anybody was found at fault. Accordingly, departmental reprimand is warranted against him.”

Incidentally, the same line was echoed by Ahsan Jamil Gujjar during his tough talk with Mr. Gondal when the latter was summoned at the CM House on August 25, as he said why no action was taken against the policemen concerned. To this, Mr. Gondal replied that no complaint was lodged.

In Pakistan, nobody is stranger to a common complain that the police tend to hesitate registering FIR, let alone taking action.

In cases, the complainants look for a reference to ensure the registration is done. However, in the matter under question, the police high-ups expected of Mr. Gondal to hold an inquiry without any complaint only because there was a family involved which had links at the PM House.

That Gondal didn’t inform IGP Kaleem Imam about August 5 incident when he discussed details with him after the incident occurred between night of August 23 and 24 is yet another charge.

This is yet another flimsy accuse apparently fabricated to support an earlier statement of the IGP wherein he accused MR. Gondal of “misrepresentation of the actual problem”.

One wonders what change would have occurred had August 5 incident been reported especially when the complainant party was not ready to register a complaint.

As for Maneka’s behavior towards the police, the inquiry report said the police officials who had stopped him in second incident demanding search of the vehicle, alleged Maneka for hurling abuses and threats.

Also, they alleged having received threatening calls from a number.

The inquiry committee identified the caller as Maneka’s servant after going through his call detail record.

Again, Mr. Gondal has been found at fault, as the inquiry officer expected from him a legal action against Maneka. It merits mention that MR. Gondal was summoned the next day at the CM House and made OSD a day after leaving no time to take action.

The inquiry officer himself didn’t bother to suggest the same and instead made any action conditional with further inquiry.

“In this incident, if Mr. Khawar did abuse the police officials or threatened on phone afterwards, and the DPO had also come to know about it, a legal action was warranted. No such step was taken. However, this point remained inconclusive and is a point of further inquiry. If this point is proven beyond reasonable doubt at any later stage, criminal action should be initiated against Mr. Khawar Maneka in such eventuality.”

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