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PS-52 by-polls" Sindh IGP asks ECP to remove Umerkot SP, DC

KARACHI: As the by-election on a provincial assembly seat in Umerkot district of Sindh approaching near, the Sindh police chief has written a letter to the provincial election commission to remove Superintendent of Police Umerkot Aijaz Ahmed Shaikh, as well as Deputy Commissioner, from their posts to ensure transparency in the by-polls in the PS-52.

The Sindh police chief Dr Kaleem Imam on Feb 20 had written a letter to the provincial election commissioner Sindh to remove or transfer SP Shaikh (PS-18) to ensure transparency in the by-elections in PS-52 Umerkot district and ask to replace him with a non-controversial police officer.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has announced to hold the by-election in PS-52 Umerkot on March 17. The seat in question fell vacant after the demise of former PPP MPA Syed Ali Mardan Shah, who had been elected five times from the same constituency, on January 19.

In the letter, IGP Imam accused that the SP Shaikh has been charged with “delinquency, unprofessionalism, and dereliction of duty” and his actions have been “biased and prejudices.” Provincial police chief said that a case has also been registered against Shaikh in Kunri police station in the district and his office had already sent a misconduct report to the Sindh government against Shaikh.

After IGP Sindh’s recent letter to the provincial election to remove SP Shaikh, it seems that tussle between the Sindh government and Sindh police has again initiated. Shaikh’s name has been included in the list of the 23 police officers against whom IGP Imam had recommended the Sindh government last year to conduct inquiries or take disciplinary actions. But analysts believe that the demanding to remove SP Shaikh will again intensity the tussle between the PPP’s Sindh government and the PTI’s federal government. The brawl was started in December when SP Shaikh has registered a ‘fake’ case against the Haleem Adil Shaikh, the PTI’s central vice-president and parliamentary leader in Sindh Assembly, in Umkerkot. There were also complaints that the police officer had misbehaved with the supporters of Arab Ghulam Rahim, former chief minister and a key leader of the Grand Democratic Alliance, an opposition group in the province. In December, the federal government asked SSP Shaikh to report to the establishment division. However, in defiance of the federal government’s directives, the Sindh government had said that it will not remove Umerkot SSP from his post.

Analysts believe that by-polls in Umerkot district is of sensitive nature because of incidents of violence in the past general polls. It is also very important for PTI because of involvement of its key leader and foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Qureshi, who is also the spiritual leader of Ghousia Jammat that had an immense following among the residents in the region, took part in the 2018 general elections from NA-220, Umerkot district’s only National Assembly seat, but lost to the PPP’s Nawab Muhammad Yusuf Talpur. During the polling, several incidents of violence reported in the constituency after paramilitary Rangers nabbed members of a political party with ballot papers.

.Although both the PPP and the PTI did not finalise yet its candidates from the by-polls, the latter has been planning to give a tough time to the PPP in the by-polls. In 2018 general polls, PPP’s candidate Shah had defeated GDA’s Rahim with a margin of over 20000 votes.

The ECP on Feb 11 has forwarded a letter of a PTI’s Umerkot leader Qurban Ali to the provincial election commission and directed it to “obtain an urgent report from quarters concerned’ regarding the removal of SP Shaikh and Deputy Commissioner The News has learnt.

The PPP has shown its anger over the IGP Sindh’s letter to the provincial election commission. Surendar Valasai, a PPP’s MPA, said that perhaps, he [Imam] may be given the task to snatch PS-by-poll for the PTI,” In a tweet, he said that “such sheer indiscipline warrants suo moto notice by apex court because very constitution is under threat from Baboos.”

Meanwhile, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) accused Inspector General Police Syed Kaleem Imam of acting like president PTI Sindh and said that Sindh IG has exposed himself by writing a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) asking him the transfer of superintendent and deputy commissioner Umarkot.

“It seems that Syed Kaleem Imam has assumed the responsibility of PTI’s district president Umarkot. The Niazi government is using IG Imam as the viceroy Sindh and violating provincial autonomy,” said Deputy Secretary Information Palwasha Khan in a statement on Sunday. Palwasha said Syed Kaleem Imam is so exposed that now he is taking notice of Khuli Kutchery of elected representative. “Who has given the authority of taking notice of elected representatives’ Khuli Kutchery,” Palwasha asked, adding this is violation of service act and action should be taken against Kaleem Imam. She said that IG Imam is still in Sindh to look after the interest of PTI. She said the reservations of Sindh government expressed about him are proving correct

Palwasha said that federal government is needlessly interfering in Sindh issues and it should stop negating mandate of the people of Sindh. “Selected government is violating the Constitution and after IG Sindh Imam’s exposure as PTI supporter he should be called back to federation or IG Imam should resign and join PTI formally,” she said.