KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ruled that Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khawaja will continue functioning in his capacity as the provincial police chief.
This was directed during a hearing of the Sindh government’s petition that was filed with the SC in order to challenge an earlier order by the Sindh High Court (SHC) which ruled that Khawaja would continue as the provincial chief.
The hearing, conducted by a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justices Umar Ata Bandiyal and Ijazul Ahsan, even barred the federal government from replacing Khawaja.
The SHC’s order was challenged just a month later by the Sindh government in the SC. The apex court while hearing the Sindh Government’s petition, ruled that Khawaja will continue to serve as the provincial chief even if the federal government agrees to remove him from the post.
The CJP during the hearing said that any steps taken by the federal government regarding the removal of the inspector general of police Sindh will not have any importance.
He further said that the appointment of the Sindh IGP is conditional to the ruling of the Supreme Court.
When the lawyer representing Sindh government told the court that the SHC had given AD Khawaja the powers to decide transfer of police officers, the CJP said that the SHC had given a “beautiful order,” worth reading twice or even thrice.
On September 7, 2017, the provincial government’s order to remove Khawaja from the post was overruled by the SHC, which directed the police chief to complete his term.
In its judgement, the court had also declared all postings and transfers carried out in the province after July 7 as illegal.
On May 30, 2017, a two-judge SHC bench, headed by Justice Muneeb Akhtar, had reserved its decision in the case, challenging Khawaja’s removal.
On April 3, 2017, the court had dismissed the provincial government’s decision to remove the Sindh police chief after a group of activists approached the SHC challenging his controversial removal.
Pakistan People’s Party’s Saeed Ghani had remarked that the power to decide whether the incumbent Inspector General Police AD Khawaja should continue on this post or not, lied with the Sindh government.
“It seems as if Sindh is on another island where a different law is in place,” he had said while reacting to SHC’s verdict.
Earlier this year, the federal cabinet approved the Sindh government’s request to post Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the new IG, according to sources.
Sindh Govt’s row with AD Khawaja:
The Sindh government has attempted to remove AD Khawaja from his post at least thrice but has remained unsuccessful so far. The first attempt was in December 2016, when he was sent on a forced leave, then in April 2017, when he was replaced by Dasti, and lastly in grade-21.
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, however, has said that he is only a government employee and is ready to leave his post if orders to that effect are issued to him.
Khawaja, who was born in Tando Mohammad Khan, assumed charge as IGP in March 2016 after the removal of the then IGP Ghulam Hyder Jamali who was involved in a National Accountability Bureau investigation into mismanagement of police funds.