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October 3, 2018

Female AC Quetta facing FIR, dismissal over anti-encroachment drive

National

October 3, 2018

ISLAMABAD: While anti-encroachment drive launched by PTI government across the country is being hailed as a bold move against law-breakers, one female assistant commissioner in Balochistan is facing an FIR and a possible disciplinary action for the same campaign.

AC Saniya Safi’s drive against encroachments has been a big success and the crowded Quetta roads are now largely free for traffic but last week she took action against some senior lawyers who had allegedly parked their cars on a busy road. The move aimed at removing wrongly parked cars escalated to the point that the parties resorted to firing and strong protest and resulted in registration of an FIR against the lady officer of the district management.

According to Sania, the cars were parked outside a plaza which had large parking inside and a nearby ground was also available for parking, but the lawyers decided to park them on the road outside the building which caused heavy traffic jam.

“I was on routine anti-encroachment drive on 26 September when I spotted the cars. The owners were told to remove the cars but they refused and resultantly one of my staff member de-inflated tyre of a wrongly parked car,” she told The News. She said the owners of the cars, who were lawyers of the local and higher courts, got infuriated and started abusing her. “They blocked the roads and even tried to remove my scarf. When my staff tried to clear the road, the lawyers resorted to aerial firing with their 9mm pistols,” she said.

Later, Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council Kamran Murtaza and senior lawyer Badar Munir also joined the lawyers and they started protest on the road and inside the police station. According to the AC, the lawyers brought heavy gear to burst tyres of their vehicles to blame it on her. Later, the district administration and the members of Baluchistan cabinet negotiated with the lawyers. The protest continued till 5:00am the next morning and only ended when an FIR was registered against the DC for alleged torture of lawyers and damage to their cars. The protesters also demanded dismissal of Saniya from service. Next day, the AC also lodged FIR against the lawyers for interference in government work and vandalism. Saniya Safi complained that political leadership had not supported her against a powerful group and the state was not backing her in her drive against encroachments. “I have written to Imran Khan for support. Being a female officer and launching action against encroachments in Quetta is not easy task. I hope the government of PTI will support me,” she said. Kamran Murtaza said the AC was not authorised to remove vehicles as it was the job of the traffic police. He denied the claim that lawyers were involved in firing and blamed police and Levies guards of AC for aerial firing. Kamran said he reached the spot about 30 minutes after the initial incident and found lawyers in lock-up of the police station. “I admit there could be verbal spat between lawyers and the administration officers but lawyers were later dragged to the police station and treated disrespectfully.”

He said the Balochistan government had promised to sack Saniya after negotiations, but later the lawyers learnt that she filed two FIRs against them. Kamran said the lawyers will continue protest till the withdrawal of FIRs and sacking of the ACs.

When asked about the encroachments drive launched by the AC, Kamran, a resident of Quetta, said the officer did clear roads during last few weeks, but she had been acting unlawfully during the campaign. He denied that lawyers mishandled the lady officer or pulled her scarf terming it against the local culture.

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