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October 21, 2020

Feeling ridiculed, demoralised, shocked: IGP Sindh, other senior cops defer leaves

Top Story

October 21, 2020

KARACHI: In a seismic event in the country’s history, almost all PSP and non PSP officers of the Sindh Police applied for leave in protest against the humiliation meted out to the Sindh IGP Mushtaq Mehr, during the PML-N leader Safdar Awan’s arrest saga. However, following the late night intervention of COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, the issue got defused with an announcement of conducting an impartial inquiry. The officers for now have deferred their leave for 10 days in national interest, pending the outcome of the inquiry.

Earlier in the evening, the news of the Sindh IGP Mushtaq Mahar tendering leave application generated shockwaves across the entire country. The development came in the aftermath of the arrest of PML-N leader Capt (retd) Safdar and the Sindh chief minister being quoted by PML-N leader and spokesman for Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz's and former Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair that the IGP Sindh was ‘kidnapped’ by Rangers who forced him to file an FIR for Safdar’s arrest. The development caused extreme bitterness among the police officers who retaliated by submitting leave of absence. Almost the entire top brass of the police, including three Additional IGs, 25 DIGs, 30 SSPs and dozens of SPs, DSPs and SHOs across Sindh, tendered leave applications, as a protest against the “resentment and heartache caused to all ranks of the force” by the unfortunate incident of October 18/19. In a tweet, the Sindh Police termed the reaction “as a spontaneous and heartfelt reaction and made on an individual basis rather than on collective basis.”

Following a low key letter of leave by the IGP Mushtaq Mehr, Additional Inspector General of Police, Special Branch, Sindh, Yaqoob Minhas submitted his. Minhas in his application submitted to the IGP that during the recent episode of registration of FIR against the PML-N leader, “the high command of the Sindh Police was ridiculed and mishandled, which has left the entire provincial police force demoralized and shocked."

Asking to proceed on leave, Minhas said: “In suchstressful situation, it is quite difficult for me to discharge my duty in a professional manner. In order to come out of this shock and settle down, I may kindly be granted 60 days earned leave.”

Within hours, a torrent of similar applications from regional chiefs, zonal chiefs, specialised unit chiefs including Counter-Terrorism Department and Criminal Investigation Agency began to flow. They included Karachi Police chief Additional IG Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon, Additional IGP Mirpurkhas Zulfiqar Larik, Additional IGP Sukkur Kamran Afzal, DIG Larkana Nasir Aftab Pathan, DIG Hyderabad Naeem Sheikh, DIG Sukkur Fida Hussain Mastoi, DIG Larkana Mazhar Nawaz Shaikh, DIG CTD Omer Shahid Hamid, DIG CIA Arif Hanif, Karachi’s DIG South Javed Akbar Riaz, DIG West Captain (retd) Asim Khan, DIG East Noman Siddiqui, DIG Special Branch Qamar-uz-Zaman, DIG Headquarters Sindh Saqib Ismail Memon, DIG Finance Zulfiqar Mahar, DIG Rapid Response Force Asif Ejaz Shaikh, DIG Traffic Liaison Abdullah Sheikh, SSP Special Branch Tauqeer Naeem, SSP East Sajid Amir Sadozai, SSP Korangi Faisal Abdullah, Sukkur SSP Irfan Sammo, SSP Anti Violent Crime Cell Abdullah Ahmad, SSP Malir Irfan Bahadur, SSP Hyderabad Adeel Chandio, SSP South Sheraz Nazir, CTD’s in-charges Raja Umer Khattab and Mazhar Mashwani, SSP Investigation East Dr Farrukh, SSP Central Arif Aslam Rao, SSP Badin Shabbir Sheikh, AIG Forensics Samiullah Soomro, SSP Sukkur Irfan Samo, SSP Khairpur Captian (retd) Ameer Saud Magsi, SSP Kashmore Amjad Shaikh, besides scores of other SSPs, SPs, DSPs as well as number of SHOs.

The senior police officers were extremely annoyed and upset with the way their IGP was treated. They warned that they could tender resignations if it is for their dignity. They asserted that the police force was the first line of defence and thousands of cops have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty and how this force has been treated is unfortunate. “Right now, we are going on leave but we can tender our resignations too,” warned a frustrated a senior police officer who wished not to be named. “How can we work in this stressful environment where there is no respect for us.”

Later in the night on Tuesday, Pakistan People's Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, visited the residence of the IGP Sindh Mushtaq Mehr where a large number of PSP officers had also gathered, to defuse the situation and to express solidarity with the police force and appreciate their role as a frontline force against crimes and terrorism.

The PPP chairman assured the Sindh Police officers that the Sindh government and as the head of ruling party he has condemned the incident as it has demoralized the Sindh Police that fought valiantly against crimes and terrorism. He said the impression that a government exists within, over or under the actual government, must be curbed. He said the provincial police fought bravely against the enemies and saved the foreign ties of the country during the attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi. The men of the Sindh Police also protected the economic icon of the Karachi Stock Exchange and embraced martyrdom during their sacred duty, he added.

On the occasion, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari informed them of his telephonic conversation with the COAS in which General Qamar Javed Bajwa had assured him of a transparent inquiry into the incident and hoped its results would be announced soon. The ISPR has also announced commission of inquiry under Corps Commander Lt Gen Humayun Aziz. The Sindh government has also ordered a ministerial level inquiry into the incident.

Bilawal said that the Sindh Police and its sacrifices for the restoration of peace and its fight against terrorism are a source of pride for the people of the province and assured them that they are held in high esteem.

Following the meeting with the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto at the IGP’s residence, the IGP deferred his own leave and ordered his officers to set aside their leave applications for 10 days in the larger national interest, pending the conclusion of the inquiry.

Meanwhile, Sindh Police spokesperson issued a statement via twitter appreciating COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for realising the sense of hurt that prevailed within a uniformed force and instituting an impartial inquiry to restore the prestige of the Sindh Police. He also expressed gratitude to the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and CM Sindh for expressing solidarity with the police leadership.

In a late night development, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah summoned all senior police officers to the CM House today (Wednesday). The meeting being held at 11am will deliberate over the latest situation arsing from the events that took place after the the sloganeering incident at the Mazar-e-Quaid.