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June 10, 2021

Wajid Zia’s removal: Routine affair or result of administrative mess?

ISLAMABAD: The large number of top-level changes by the PTI government in the police service of Pakistan on Wednesday are being described as nothing out of the ordinary by the authorities. But one change – Panama JIT fame Wajid Zia’s removal from the post of DG FIA – has raised many eyebrows.

For Barrister Shahzad Akbar, the prime minister’s advisor on accountability, all the changes made, including that of Wajid Zia, are merely a “routine matter”. However, for senior officials in the FIA, Zia’s removal is both sudden and perplexing. “We were expecting him to retire early next year as DG FIA but he has been removed and given an unimportant position,” a source said.

Barrister Shahzad denied that there was any adverse reason for Wajid Zia’s removal. Instead, he emphasized that Zia has not been removed but transferred to a new post as the government wanted to have the FIA under a new leadership. Former IG Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sanaullah Abbasi is the new DG FIA.

Shahzad Akbar praised the services of Wajid Zia and said that he is a nice person. While sources are not sure about the real reason behind the change at the top in the FIA, they hinted at some administrative “difficulties” that Wajid Zia was faced with.

The sources explained that administratively the FIA is an attached department of the Interior Ministry but presently it is directly run by the PM’s Office through SAPMs and administrative section of the PM House.

Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid, the interior secretary or the interior ministry are not so relevant in key matters (like the sugar probe) about which the FIA has been receiving directions directly from the PM Office bypassing the interior ministry.

It is said that even the PM’s advisor has been directly passing orders to the FIA’s Regional Director North (Punjab and KP) Abubakar and Director Lahore Dr Rizwan, bypassing Wajid Zia.

Govt sources, however, say that Sheikh Rashid had on multiple occasions said that FIA matters are directly looked after by Interior Adviser Shahzad Akbar.

According to a source, the agency is likely to go for some high-profile arrests of key sugar mafia figures after the budget. The source said that Barrister Shahzad, during his recent visit to the Lahore FIA office, had also specially inspected the Agency’s lockup there.

Sanaullah Abbasi, who has served for the greater part of his career in his home province Sindh, has been appointed DG FIA. During his tenure as IG KP, Abbasi remained in close contact with the PM’s principal secretary Azam Khan. The PM has now opted to give him the challenging job of DG FIA. However, it is yet to be seen whether he will be able to adjust to the administrative “challenges” faced by his predecessor.

Wajid Zia has been moved to the National Police Foundation as its DG. It’s a BS-22 police cadre post but considered unattractive because it is not as powerful as his previous post.

IG AJK Salahuddin Mehsud has also been transferred and posted as commandant Frontier Constabulary. Sohail Tajik, a BS-20 officer of the PSP, has been appointed as the new IG AJK. The changes in AJK are considered routine ones linked to the upcoming elections there. AJK police officer Fahim Abbasi, who is senior to Sohail Tajik, has been assured that he will be given a new assignment commensurate with his seniority outside the AJK police department. In KP, Moazzam Jah Ansari has been appointed as the new IG Police.