KARACHI: Sindh government has gone to the Supreme Court challenging the verdict of Sindh High Court, restraining it from removing Sindh police chief AD Khowaja from his post until he completes his term.
Advocate Farooq H Naek filed the appeal in the apex court, requesting it to set aside the high court’s judgment against the removal of IG Khowaja. It is expected to take up the appeal on November 7.
The PPP-led government had twice tried to remove IG Khowaja. Last year, it had sent the IG on a forced leave, while back in April, it sent him packing after it appointed another Grade-21 police officer, Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti, in his place.
On Sep 8 this year, the high court had given the verdict on two identical petitions filed by members of civil society against the provincial government for attempting to replace Khowaja with the officer of its own choice.
It had allowed IGP Khowaja to complete his tenure, ruling that, “Since the post of IG has a fixed term associated with it, the rule laid down by the Supreme Court in the Anita Turab case is applicable. Therefore, if at all an incumbent can be removed during the term that can be done only for compelling reasons within the meaning of the rule.”
The Sindh cabinet last week, in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, approved the removal of Khowaja once again, asking the Centre to appoint a grade-22 officer of Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti in his place.
The secretary services presented the proposal of AD Khowaja’s replacement, 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 against appointments on OPS basis.
AD Khowaja, a grade-21 officer, has been serving on an OPS basis on a 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.
He suggested that AD Khowaja’s services should be surrendered to the federal government and Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti should be appointed as new IGP.
On the occasion, Khowaja – who was also present at the meeting – argued that the apex court’s ruling was effective during his appointment in 2016 and the Centre was mindful of the fact.
He said grade-21 officers are also serving as IGP in other provinces, except the Punjab IGP who was recently promoted to grade-22.