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February 11, 2019

Will police accept a hybrid system in merged districts?


February 11, 2019

PESHAWAR: The transfer of the Inspector General of Police, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Salahuddin Mahsud is considered to be a victory of the civilian bureaucracy and some top government functionaries who wanted a system of their own choice in the merged districts, a source said.

The sources believed the overnight change seems to be due to the staunch stance of Salahuddin Mahsud regarding the major role of police in merged districts of the erstwhile Fata. He had been openly saying that police would not accept any hybrid system in the tribal districts.

Some top government functionaries including the governor were not happy with the IGP as they wanted the Levies and Khassadars Act implemented and law-enforcement agencies work directly under the command of deputy commissioner.

A number of police officers have openly expressed their anger over the removal of Salahuddin Mahsud and have termed it an effort to weaken the force and do injustice with five million tribespeople by introducing a policing system different from other parts of the country.

The government and the bureaucracy, however, argue it was a routine transfer. The chief minister of the province Mahmood Khan even praised the outgoing chief secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch and IGP for their services for the province. Some cabinet members also praised the outgoing police chief. However, none of them could explain as to why he had to be removed ahead of completion of his three year tenure if he was doing well.

It is to be seen whether the new IGP Mohammad Naeem Khan continues with the stance of his predecessor or supports the system being introduced by the bureaucracy. He is a senior officer in grade-22 and his stance on the issue would play a key role in policing in the erstwhile Fata.

“Salahuddin Mahaud was removed because he strived to replicate the policing system of Peshawar, Lahore or Karachi in erstwhile Fata without any adulteration or manipulation as sought by the bureaucracy. He was resisting the hybrid system some elements desired in the merged districts,” the source added.

Salahuddin Mahsud was appointed by the federal government for a second tenure as IG KP in August 2018. However, like IGP Punjab and IGP Islamabad he was also removed within some months of his appointment as without completing tenure.

A new Levies Act has been proposed for former Fata recently which will introduce a system similar to that of Balochistan’s ‘B’ area and PATA. “Mahsud was making an effort to convert it into a transitionary, temporary and enabling law (for some interim duration) so that it does not become a permanent administrative feature in the merged districts,” the source claimed.

“The purpose of the transfer of Mahsud is to ensure that the deputy commissioner retains the authority of DPO as well by introduction of clandestine systems which is against the Supreme Court’s decision in this regard,” the source added.

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