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Pakpattan DPO removal: CM’s office was calling the shots, not Kaleem Imam

It was Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s office which was calling the shots and not the former inspector general of police Kaleem Imam who acted as a rubber stamp to remove ex-district police officer (DPO) Pakpattan Rizwan Umar Gondal after the former refused to go to the dera of Khawar Maneka, ex-husband of the first lady, concludes the inquiry report conducted by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) national coordinator.

By Usman Manzoor 
October 04, 2018

ISLAMABAD: It was Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s office which was calling the shots and not the former inspector general of police Kaleem Imam who acted as a rubber stamp to remove ex-district police officer (DPO) Pakpattan Rizwan Umar Gondal after the former refused to go to the dera of Khawar Maneka, ex-husband of the first lady, concludes the inquiry report conducted by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) national coordinator.

Pressure was directly exerted from CM’s office, SC told

Moreover, one Ahsan Jameel Gujjar, a friend of Maneka family, had hurled threats at the DPO saying “All will suffer” if the DPO does not visit Maneka’s dera, the report mentions.

Rizwan Gondal was removed unceremoniously in the wee hours on August 27 after the Maneka family had complained that they had been stopped twice at police pickets in Pakpattan and that the DPO should visit their dera to apologise. The inquiry report conducted by Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak, National Coordinator Nacta, contains the statements of CM Punjab Usman Buzdar, his chief security officer, personal staff officer, Ahsan Jameel Gujjar, ex-IG Punjab, DIG, RPO and concerned DPO.

The report says that Ahsan Jameel had asked the DPO that he had been sent a message through common friends but he had not complied with, to which the DPO responded that if it meant going to the dera to apologise, then DPOs don’t go to deras. Secondly, Ahsan Jameel had also uttered that it was being condoned this time but if such things happen next time “all will suffer”.

In order to dig out the truth, it is essential to analyse the facts that have surfaced during the course of inquiry and cross examination. The report has mentioned that the DPO Pakpattan supported his earlier contention that these remarks were uttered. Moreover, during the cross examination, the DPO also revealed that the common friends that were being referred to, include Col Tariq and DIG Azeem Arshad (who is posted abroad). Ahsan Jameel also admitted the names of these persons. The DPO further stated that DIG Azeem Arshad made a WhatsApp call and told him to “resolve the issue by visiting the place of Manekas, to which he objected and later on through a WhatsApp message Azeem proposed to send some seasoned DSP at their place to resolve the issue. The call and message have been verified and message reads, “Rizwan Sahib, I have spoken to my friend at length. I think if you send a wise DSP to their place who makes them understand the situation and different dynamics, the matter will be resolved.” Hence, the contention of DPO is correct and it also clarifies the meaning of implied reconciliation, which clearly meant visiting the dera of the Maneka family. Moreover, the RPO, who is the star witness, has also verified (in cross examination) the content of first statement.

“The call data of late night call on 26-08-18 between officers confirms that PSO to CM talked to IGP, at his residence number at 11:50pm and then from IG house a call was made to DIG HQ at 11:52pm. Then calls between ex-DPO Pakpattan DIG HQ, and RPO are also established. However the call data of 27-08-18 also establishes that a call was made by PSO to CM to ex-DPO Pakpattan at 9:00am. Though the content of the talk is not known but the sequence of the time of these calls support the contention ex-DPO Pakpattan. The RPO has also continued the version of ex-DPO Pakpattan that he received a call from DPO at midnight between 26/27 August, about his verbal transfer orders. The RPO also acknowledges that he talked back to DIG HQ for a request to wait till finalisation of inquiry but later sometime he received a message to comply with orders. Moreover, the PSO to CM has also confirmed that he talked to DPO on the 27/8/18 at 9:00am in the morning but the purpose was not to check whether the DPO had relinquished the charge but it was just a courtesy call.”

The report states, “Now coming to the version of IGP that there was no external pressure on him and that he had made a transfer at his own accord. If we ‘accept his version, then in the normal course of action, a summary is moved to CM for approval, It is only in urgent’ cases or on directions from higher quarters that a post-facto approval is sought. In this case no such summary was moved initially. So, if the orders had followed from IGP at his accord, then what was urgency to issue transfer orders at midnight and to convey to officer verbally to immediately report to CPO the following day. The other option is that there was a direction from somewhere else to shift him before a given deadline. The circumstances points towards that direction. Furthermore, if the IGP had himself ordered an inquiry into the matter on 25-08-2018, whose report was formally received on 30-08-2018, then why didn’t he wait for the outcome of the inquiry and issued orders hastily to receipt of report on 27-08-2018 at 1am, also point to the fact that pressure was from some other quarters. It is also pertinent to mention that if the meeting held at CM Office to sort out the issue had ended with the decision that RPO would look into matter personally. Then what led to spontaneous transfer and initiation of inquiry at which RPO had also expressed his surprise. In the wake of these circumstances, it can be safely concluded that the orders of transferring ex-DPO Pakpattan at an odd time on 27-08-2018 flowed from CM office and ex-IGP only acted as a ‘rubber stamp'.”