KARACHI: A group of 35 retired IGs of the Police Service of Pakistan, who earlier had expressed concern over the way Sindh IGP A.D. Khowaja was asked by the Sindh government to go on leave, have now approached the prime minister, requesting him “not to allow this premature transfer of a provincial police chief”.
A letter addressed by former Sindh IG Afzal Ali Shigri to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the Sindh government’s move could weaken the law enforcement agency and set a wrong precedent.
“Transferring an IGP of a province on personal whims not only belittles the office in the eyes of his subordinates and the public, but is also against the norms of justice,” said the letter. “The IGP is a member of the police service of Pakistan under the federal government. Therefore, we appeal to you not to allow this premature transfer of a provincial police chief.
“We also request that the government consider fixing tenure of IGPs to ensure operational autonomy and depoliticisation of police services.”
Earlier this week, the same group comprising retired officers had expressed concern over the move to send IG Khowaja on leave and termed it unjustified. They appealed to the prime minister and the chief minister not to allow “this premature transfer of an honourable police chief”.
As the federal government had refused to accede to the request of the Sindh government to remove IG Khowaja, the PPP-led provincial government finallyt got rid of him on Monday when he was sent on ‘forced’ leave, paving the way for the appointment of a ‘favourite’ police chief.
The move attracted reaction not only from political circles but also drew criticism from retired officers.
“I address this letter to you on behalf of 35 retired IGPs who are part of the Pakistan Police Forum, an informal group that strives for the rule of law, good governance and police professionalism,” said Mr Shigri’s letter.
“While we concede the prerogative of the government to transfer any police officer, we feel that it is essential for good governance that the IGP of a province is given stability of tenure to enable him to deliver. And if the government wants to transfer him prematurely, it must have solid reasons for doing it.”
The retired officers expressed fears that the move would also be a question mark on the government’s credibility and shake the confidence of reputed and honest officers.
“We seek your personal intervention in this issue of great public importance,” said the letter.