Most police officers in Sindh prefer to serve in the province at any cost. Why?
On September 28, Sindh High Court (SHC) settled the matter concerning the transfer of five senior police officers from Sindh by dismissing petitions filed against the Establishment Division’s notifications. Rashid Bohio and other petitioners had challenged the transfer of officers Fida Hussain Mastoi, Iqbal Dara Dayo, Irfan Ali Baloch, Qamar-uz-Zaman and Munir Ahmed Sheikh from Sindh to other provinces, as well as the rotation policy of the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) and Police Access Service (PAS) officers, as framed by the federal government.
Most police officers in Sindh prefer to keep serving in the province at any cost. Why?
The Sindh government says that the federal government has always wanted to intervene in the provincial government’s affairs by transferring meritorious police officers who, according to the Sindh government, are well aware of the dynamics of the province. Independent analysts and political leaders do not buy this narrative.
According to senior political analyst and writer Manzoor Solangi, politicians from the ruling class in Sindh province are mostly dependent upon the Sindh Police to suppress their political rivals, and to avail illegal leverage. Solangi says the police in Sindh are substantially different from other provinces. They have never been independent to do their mandated work. Police in the province, they say, are free from all checks and balances and have a freehand to engage in illegal activities, patronising of crime and criminals, smuggling of Iranian oil, narcotics, liquor, Indian gutka etc. That is why a majority of police officers do not want to go to other provinces or federal departments despite having served for many years in Sindh.
In the recent past Sindh government remained locked in a dispute over two former provincial police chiefs, AD Khawaja and Dr Kaleem Imam. Both the chiefs lost their positions before their tenures ended. A well-reputed AD Khawaja then faced accusations leveled by leaders of the province’s ruling party and an inquiry was initiated against Dr Kaleem Imam by Anti-Corruption Department on charges of irregularities in development works of the Central Police Office (CPO).
In June this year, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan directed the Establishment Division to take action against Dr Jameel, the additional inspector general in charge of Hyderabad on allegations of corruption, misuse of authority and occupying government property under Rule 18 (2) of Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020. The PM’s letter said that the officer was allegedly heading 15 districts in Hyderabad, collecting Rs 1.5 million to Rs 2 million from each district on a monthly basis besides taking his cut in bribes paid for postings and transfers of officers under his command. The Establishment Division, following the directions of the PM, wrote two letters to the Sindh Government directing action against the said officer but no action was taken. Instead the officer (now retired) is tipped for an important position in the Sindh government.
Some of the worst examples of the incompetence of the provincial police include baseless complaints under various sections of anti-terrorism law and kidnapping for ransom.
Haleem Adil Shaikh, a member of the Provincial Assembly, who is facing 10 cases including two under various sections of anti-terrorism law tells The News on Sunday (TNS) that the Sindh government has “ruined the Police Department for political gains”. According to Shaikh some police officers “who have a nexus with the ruling party politicians are allegedly patronising the smuggling of Iranian oil, drugs, maava (the tobacco mixed mild drug), betel nuts, cigarettes, Indian gutka, liquor and chars.” Police are used to control political opponents in the province, says Shaikh.
Rasheed Channa, the spokesman for Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, tells TNS that the Police Department is independent and the perception of political interference is wrong. He says the chief minister n totally believes in merit and independent policing.
The writer is a staff reporter for The News