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January 3, 2021

After falling from grace: Omar Sheikh has little chance of making it to higher grade

National

January 3, 2021

ISLAMABAD: After falling out of favour with his powerful patrons, recently removed Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Omar Sheikh is unlikely to get the nod from the Central Selection Board (CSB) for the third consecutive time for promotion to Grade 21.

Sheikh has already been twice superseded by the CSB. The board, constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan, starts its three-day session from January 4 to look into the promotion of bureaucrats of different groups to grades 20 and 21.

Omar Sheikh faces heavy odds this time as well in view of the inclusion of two senior police officers in the CSB.

Their opinion will be sought in the promotion of police officers to higher pay scales.

Dr Shoaib Dastagir, a Grade 22 officer belonging to the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), is included in the CSB as its co-opted member.

He was removed as the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab by the federal government after a controversy involving discipline and the violation of the chain of command by Omar Sheikh erupted.

Sheikh’s intemperate remarks about the IGP had ignited the row, which had greatly annoyed the Punjab police chief.

Mehr Khuda Dad Lak, another Grade 22 PSP officer, who enjoys a good reputation, is the second co-opted member of the CSB whose opinion will matter. He too is unlikely to favour Omar Sheikh’s bid for promotion.

The incumbent Punjab IGP, Inam Ghani, has not been included in the CSB because he is in Grade 21 and junior to those who have been co-opted as members. Only the most senior police officers are made members of the CCSB.

A knowledgeable official told The News that if an officer is superseded, the case for his promotion could be reconsidered by the CSB, following its previous deferment, if he has earned an exceptional annual confidential report (ACR) from his boss.

In Omar Sheikh’s case, the official writing such an ACR will be Dr Shoaib Dastagir in his capacity as the former Punjab IGP.

The way he had reacted to Sheikh’s insubordination, ultimately leading to Dastagir’s transfer from his position, suggests that he would not be rated highly in the ACR.

The official said that Omar Sheikh’s continuing in his post of Lahore CCPO would have suggested that he still enjoyed the trust and backing of the higher authorities, which could have got him a promotion regardless of the CSB’s findings.

However, according to the official, now that the CCPO has been sidelined, giving the impression that he is no longer in the good books of high-ups, there is little chance that he would get a promotion and the CSB’s decision would be overruled.

During his brief stint as the Lahore CCPO, Omar Sheikh stirred up a number of serious controversies.

Among them were his indiscreet and insensitive remarks following the motorway gang-rape and his actions against his subordinates, including the registration of FIRs against them. The record shows that Omar Sheikh’s previous upward trajectory had been stopped by the CSB because of Dr Shoaib Dastagir’s adverse recommendation against him and a damning Intelligence Bureau (IB) report, among other reasons.

The IB report, which had been presented to the CSB, had made negative observations about his reputation. Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved his supersession on the recommendation of the CSB, which found him an officer with a ‘tainted’ career. On June 15 this year, the Establishment Division had formally conveyed to Sheikh that on the CSB’s recommendation, the premier had approved his supersession and he had thus not been promoted to Grade 21.

The Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) chairman heads the CSB in an ex-officio capacity. It includes Rizwan Ahmed (Sindh), Sikandar Qayyum (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mathar Niaz Rana (Balochistan), Afzal Latif (Punjab) and Dr Hashim Popalzai as its members.

The ex-officio members are the secretaries of the establishment and cabinet divisions and are all serving chief secretaries while the interior secretary and all Grade 22 IGPs of the provinces are co-opted members.

The secretary of the ministry/division concerned including the auditor general of Pakistan, IB director general, Inter-Services director general (personnel) (only for agenda items relating to divisions and departments concerned) have also been taken on board as co-opted members of the CSB.