Inspector General of Police (IGP) A.D. Khawaja on Wednesday offered to leave his post, telling the Sindh High Court (SHC) that doing his job had become increasingly difficult under the current circumstances.
The IG Sindh faces increasing hostility from political quarters, with the provincial government keen to send him packing as soon as possible and appoint a more favourable candidate.
In the last hearing of the case, the Government of Sindh’s Advocate General, Barrister Zamir Ghumro, had lost his calm when the court decided to defer the case for some more days on the petitioners’ request.
Ghumro had complained that this was first time in judicial history that a “senior police officer” (Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti) had been forced to worked under a “junior officer” (A.D. Khawaja) because of the SHC’s insistence on seeing the case through.
Last month, the provincial government had ‘surrendered’ Khawaja’s services to the federal government, saying it was instead appointing Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti, another Grade-21 police officer already working in the province, in his place.
However, a divisional bench of the high court, headed by Justice Muneeb Akhtar, had suspended the provincial government’s notification and ordered Khawaja to resume his duties as the provincial police chief till further notice.
During the SHC hearing on Wednesday, Khawaja’s counsel, Advocate Shahab Osto, appeared before the court on behalf of his client and submitted an application seeking the court’s order to allow the IGP to relinquish his charge.
Through his lawyer, Khawaja requested that his services be surrendered to the federal government.
Osto argued before the divisional bench that the “uncertainty surrounding Khawaja’s appointment was increasingly telling on the morale and efficiency of the police force.”
“The ranks and officers were showing the strains of having to adjust with the episodic removal and reinstatement of the IGP.”
However, the SHC refused to let Khawaja relinquish his post and sustained its stay on his removal till it deliberates the matter.
The Sindh Government’s decision to remove Khawaja from his post has been seen by some as the PPP’s strategy for the upcoming general election.
Khawaja’s differences with bigwigs of Sindh’s ruling party on issues relating to removal/posting of police officials before by-elections in some constituencies, his stance on a businessman said to be a close associate of PPP leader Asif Zardari and recruitment in the police department are no secret.
As the 2018 general elections are approaching, it is felt that the PPP can no longer want him in the province.
In December 2016, the IGP was sent on “forced leave’ by the provincial government. Sources at the time said PPP leadership was not happy with the IGP over many issues, including his refusal to accept illegal demands of the people close to the ruling party.