Tuesday February 07, 2023

Punjab police faced with unusual command crisis

September 06, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Police faces an unusual situation as the provincial government, following the dictates of a federal adviser, has appointed new CCPO Lahore without the consent of the Inspector General Punjab.

What has made things tricky is the alleged talk of the newly appointed CCPO against the IG. The IG Punjab is seriously upset and approached Prime Minister Imran Khan to convey his disappointment over the appointment besides telling the premier what his junior said against him while speaking to a police gathering in Lahore.

Everyone who matters in the Punjab Police as well as senior members of bureaucracy in Lahore are aware of this unusual situation. With their fingers crossed, most of these officers are waiting to see who between the two will survive. “One has to go,” a source said, adding that the decision will be made by the prime minister.

Informed sources said that on the intervention of a federal adviser, the Punjab chief minister approved the appointment of Umar Shaikh as CCPO Lahore, who leads 35,000 police force and 85 police stations of the provincial capital.

The sources said that in his first interaction with his officers, serving in Lahore police zone, the newly appointed CCPO spoke against Inspector General Punjab Shoaib Dastageer, who reportedly had opposed Shaikh’s promotion to BS-21 in the last Central Selection Board meeting. The alleged utterance of the CCPO Lahore was immediately conveyed to the IG Punjab besides its wide circulation through social media apps among members of police service and other senior civil servants mostly stationed in Lahore.

Dastageer, who was already upset over the appointment of the CCPO Lahore against his will and without his consent, took it as a serious dent to the police's command and control system. Soon after the incident, it is said that the IG Punjab left for Islamabad to meet the prime minister.

Dastageer met the premier on Friday and conveyed his concerns. One source claimed that the premier was not shared with all the facts about the major change made in police of the provincial capital.

It is also alleged that a federal government adviser recently interviewed certain police officers for some key changes in Lahore Police Department. It is said that the purpose of this move is to target the PML-N in Lahore, which has been the party’s stronghold for the last many years. However, it is yet to be seen whether police officers would agree to such a politicisation which is just contrary to the PTI’s commitment of depoliticising the police department.

Punjab government sources, however, deny this and insist that the PTI is committed to its objective of depoliticising police. Using police to target its political opponents, it is insisted, is neither the policy of Prime Minister Imran Khan nor that of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.