Pakistan

KARACHI – On Tuesday the Sindh High Court (SHC) extended its stay on the removal of Inspector General of Police (IGP) A.D. Khawaja from his post and ordered the IGP to continue his duties till the final decision.

The court was hearing a petition moved by Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education and Research’s (PILER) chief, Karamat Ali.

Ali had argued that the provincial government, which seeks to ‘surrender’ Khawaja’s services to the federation, should be held in contempt of court as it had defied a previous high court-issued stay on Khawaja’s removal.

During a previous hearing of the petition, the court had interrogated provincial advocate general (AG) about the law under which law Khawaja was removed from his post.

The AG had said the IGP had been appointed under Clause 3 of the Police Act, and that the Sindh government has the right to appoint an IGP of its choice.

However, he was silent when asked if the provincial cabinet had been taken into confidence before the notification for Khawaja’s removal was issued.

‘All governmental powers can only be exercised through the cabinet’ the court had told the AG.

The next day, the Sindh Cabinet approved the ouster of AD Khawaja and said it would back the decision to ‘surrender’ Khawaja’s services to the federal government.

During the cabinet meeting, chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, the appointment of Dasti as Khawaja’s replacement as provincial police chief was also approved.

After the approval was given by the provincial government, the court had extended its stay and asked for a copy of the decision made by the Sindh Cabinet to be provided to it.

The institutional ping-pong started when the Sindh government surrendered the services of Khawaja to the federal government last week and replaced Khawaja by appointing another grade-21 police officer Abdul Majeed as acting IG.

However, on April 3, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had suspended a notification issued by the Sindh government that replaced AD Khawaja with Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

The police official (AD Khawaja) remained in the limelight ever since PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari decided to return home after ending self-exile in December last year.

AD Khawaja was reportedly sent on forced leave by the provincial government days before the arrival of Asif Ali Zardari.

Following the decision, Sindh High Court directed the provincial government not to take any action against the police official.

Sindh High Court would resume hearing the case on Thursday.