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Divided we fall: Infighting within police department throws operation into doubt

Pakistan on 04 February 2014
Location : Karachi | Source : Express Tribune. Image Source: Express Tribune

KARACHI: As the ongoing operation in Karachi fails to curb the rising crime statistics in the city, reports have surfaced that the police department has fallen prey to internal disputes. A group of senior police officers of the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) have again accelerated lobbying against the city’s police chief in order to remove him from the post of the Additional IG Karachi.

In October 2013, a petition was filed by five senior police officers — Training DIG Allah Dino Khawaja, AIG Bashir Memon, DIG Sanaullah Abbasi, DIG Azhar Rashid and DIG Dr Ameer Shaikh — challenging the appointment of DIG Shahid Hayat as the city’s police chief. The Sindh High Court had directed the provincial authorities to submit their respective replies to the petition which is scheduled for hearing tomorrow [Tuesday].

The petitioners alleged that Hayat had been working as the DIG police (Special Branch) prior to his transfer. The promotion was ordered through a notification issued by the chief secretary, who had ignored senior and more experienced police officials working on grade-20 and grade-21. According to the petitioners, the AIG has yet to pass the Staff College Course – a mandatory requirement for promotion to grade 21 under the service laws.

“Because of his wrong policies, terrorism and crime are still on rise while our personnel are continuously being made victims of terrorism,” lamented another police official.

Earlier, the Rangers had raised objections over reports of a likely reshuffle in the police department. Officials of the paramilitary force had even threatened to back out from the Karachi operation. The issue was later calmed down as the government had fulfilled their demands by not taking the initiatives to transfer the key police officers leading the operation.

“We have decided. We will go on strike and will resign if needed,” warned one of the senior police officers, while talking to The Express Tribune. “The role of the police is too limited now. The police and the department are gradually losing grip in Karachi as well as losing its value. It seems that the serving Karachi police chief has handed the city’s law enforcement over to the Rangers and the recent objection over his transfer by Rangers is proof of that.”

Meanwhile, another source of contention among the already divided officials rose with the appointment of SSP Rao Anwar as the Malir police chief. “Four groups of police are now operating within the Karachi police. One is being led by Shahid Hayat, the second by Rao Anwar, the third by group of ranker police officers (RPOs) and the fourth is comprised of senior PSP officers,” explained a police officer who wished to remain anonymous.

Rangers officials, as well as AIG Shahid Hayat, have expressed reservations over the appointment of Rao Anwar. “Both the officers do not want to work with each other. Subsequently, the higher ups decided that Anwar will work directly under the IGP,” the officer explained. “After assuming charge, Anwar has appointed some of his team members as DSPs and SHOs. He, however, wants to re-appoint his entire team in district East, which AIG Hayat will not allow,” he said. “Where is our police department going? At one side, we are fighting criminals and terrorists and at the same time, we are fighting each other,” he lamented.

On the other hand, Anwar himself criticised the Karachi operation. “I had been posted as District Malir SSP for five months when Shahid Hayat was DIG East. Why am I wrong for him now when he had no problem with me at that time?” asked Anwar, while speaking to The Express Tribune. “This is professional jealousy because the police officers who filed petition against his (Hayat) appointment, support me.”

For their part, the government has reiterated that it has no intentions to make transfers or postings in the police department. “The government has no intention to make transfers or postings but we can if needed anywhere,” said the adviser to Sindh chief minister, Waqar Mehdi.

The provincial chief secretary Sajjad Saleem, additional chief secretary for home, Mumtaz Ali Shah, Sindh IGP and Karachi additional IG were reluctant to comment on the issue despite several attempts to contact them.

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