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January 18, 2020

Police and provinces

Editorial

 
January 18, 2020

Police matters in Sindh seem to be back to square one. The Sindh government has already asked federal government to remove inspector general of police, Dr Kaleem Imam. The PTI-led federal government had appointed Dr Imam as the IGP in September, 2018. That appointment had caused a stir in the police circles of Sindh immediately as there were other more senior officers of the Police Service of Pakistan already serving in the province who were reluctant to serve under a relatively junior officer as the new IGP. For example, senior officer Ghulam Qadir Thebo reacted by applying to go on leave rather that serve under Imam.

But more than the question of seniority, it is the inability of the federal and provincial governments to work in tandem to find an amicable solution to the question of appointments to senior positions. Though it is the prerogative of the federal government to appoint IGPs in provinces, the decision must be taken in line with the provincial recommendations. Once the appointment is made the provincial government and the IGP must develop a rapport so that the police can work without any political interference. In this case it was not only a federation-province tussle but also a constant tug-of-war between the Sindh government and the IGP on multiple matters. One of them was crime control in the province. The Sindh government kept blaming the IGP for failing to perform his duties of controlling crimes, and the IGP accused the Sindh government of political interference and not taking him into confidence while surrendering the services of senior police officers to the federation.

Interestingly, the entire Sindh cabinet met with a single-point agenda on January 15, just to discuss the matter, and concluded the meeting with a unanimous opinion to request the federal government for the IGP’s removal. Apart from failure to control crime, another major accusation against the IGP was that he had written letters to foreign missions without the consent or permission from the chief minister. Another bone of contention has been the appointment of DIGs and SSPs in the province which is apparently an IG’s prerogative but a consent from the provincial government is deemed advisable. With all this rigmarole, perhaps it is better to appoint a new IGP with mutual consent of both the federal and Sindh governments. But the provincial government should also make sure that unnecessary interference in the domain of an IG is likely to create friction again.