KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a petition against removal of Sindh police chief A.D. Khawaja while sustaining its stay order against his removal till announcement of the judgment.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Munib Akhtar reserved the verdict after hearing concluding arguments from Advocate General Sindh Zameer Ghumro, Assistant Attorney General Salman Talibuddin and the petitioners’ lawyer Faisal Siddiqui.
It allowed IG Khawaja to continue discharging his duties till pronouncement of the verdict on a date to be fixed by the court office later.
The proceedings concerning Sindh government’s powers to appoint the IGP of its choosing spanned around two months.
The rift between the Sindh government and IG Khawaja came to the fore when the former surrendered the services of the latter to the center and appointed additional IG Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti in his place on 1st April.
However, the provincial government had to suffer a setback on 3rd April when the high court suspended its notification restoring IG Khawaja.
The court observed that the IG could be removed only after the cabinet endorses the decision as the apex court had held in its verdict that the provincial governments could exercise their statutory powers conferred on them through cabinet.
Subsequently, the Sindh government summoned a cabinet meeting which endorsed removal of AD Khawaja and the appointment of additional IG Dasti in his place.
Throughout the proceedings, the provincial law officer kept on pleading to the judges to set aside the stay against removal of IG Khawaja citing worsening working relationship between the two.
The incumbent IG, however, had submitted an application asking the court to allow him to leave his job as discharging his duties amid growing hostility from the rulers had become increasingly difficult for him.
The PPP government and IG Khawaja are believed to have been at loggerheads over the latter’s refusal to appoint government favorite police officer ahead of by-elections in some constituencies and devising merit-based recruitment policy in the police force.