ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) controlled federal cabinet approved the appointment of Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as Sindh’s new Inspector General of Police (IGP), ending over a year-long wrangle between the Sindh government and members of civil society over removal of IGP A.D. Khawaja, ARY News reported on Thursday.
The decision to replace Khawaja with Dasti as new IG Sindh was made in the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday.
Dasti’s appointment as new IG for Sindh was on the agenda of Wednesday’s federal cabinet meeting.
Khawaja’s differences with bigwigs of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) appeared over removal and posting of police officials in some constituencies before by-elections.
On Jan 2, the provincial government of Sindh had requested federal government in writing to replace Sindh IGP Khawaja.
Three names were suggested to the federal government as the replacements of incumbent IGP. Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti was among the top contenders for the post.
Previously in late October, Sindh cabinet had approved the removal of incumbent Inspector General Police (IGP) A.D. Khawaja once again, replacing him with grade-22 officer of Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti.
The cabinet meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.
The secretary services presented the proposal of A.D. Khawaja’s replacement after suggesting that the incumbent IGP was appointed on an own pay scale (OPS) basis in 2016 and he could not hold the office in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
A.D. Khawaja, a grade-21 officer, has been serving on an OPS basis on grade-22 post of the inspector general of police. A new police chief must be appointed in compliance with the top court orders, the secretary services said.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had deprecated appointments on the OPS basis while passing directives to remove OPS officers, he added.
He suggested that A.D. Khawaja’s services should be surrendered to the federal government and Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti should be appointed as new IGP.
On the occasion, Khawaja – who was in attendance at the meeting – argued that the apex court’s ruling was effective during his appointment in 2016.
He said grade-21 officers are also serving as IGP in other provinces, besides the Punjab IGP was promoted to grade-22 lately.
Earlier this month, Dasti – who is currently serving as the Additional Inspector General (AIG) (Research and Development) under command of A.D. Khawaja – was promoted to Grade-22 by the federal government, turning the incumbent Khawaja junior to Dasti.
The move was deemed as another bid to replace the current police chief of Sindh.
The Pakistan Peoples’ Party-led government of Sindh has been in months-long tussle with Khawaja over the post.
The provincial cabinet had also given its nod for removal of the police chief in April but the decision then was reverted after a judicial intervention on the matter.
Strategy to restore Dasti as IGP
The promotion of Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti to grade-22 officer is being viewed an attempt to restore him as IGP. He had previously assumed the charge of police chief for short period of time in April. However, he relinquished his post after the court ruled in favour of A.D. Khawaja.
Court’s intervention on IGP removal
In September, the PPP-led Sindh government suffered a blow after the Sindh High Court (SHC) annulled its decision to send provincial police chief AD Khawaja packing. The court allowed the police chief to continue his office.
The bench, in its short order, set aside the government notification for relieving Khawaja from the IGP office, ruling that the provincial government could not remove an IGP sans any justification.
The court also made it mandatory for the government to follow the verdict in Anita Turab case under which an IGP could not be removed from his post before completion of three years of his tenure.
The provincial government had then decided to challenge the high court’s decision in Supreme Court, government sources said.