NOKHAIZ SAHI and ASHRAF JAVED
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - The federal government on Saturday made two key appointments. Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera, an officer of Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), was appointed as the new Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab while Muhammad Amlish was appointed as new Balochistan IGP.
According to a notification issued by the establishment division, the predecessor of Mushtaq Sukhera, Khan Baig, has been made OSD and asked to report to the establishment division. Prior to this posting, Sukhera was working as IGP Balochistan.
Sukhera is a grade-21 PSP officer and belongs to the 10th common. He has served in Punjab as additional inspector general of police, counter terrorism department, deputy inspector general police Lahore, and in several districts of Punjab as SSP including Multan and Gujranwala, Sargodha and Gujrat.
Muhammad Amlish was earlier working as the additional inspector general of police special branch.
In what appears to be a move to effectively deal with the law and order situation in Punjab, the government has brought in a new chief of the police, transferring the incumbent one to the National Police Bureau.
Balochistan police chief, Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera, was posted as Punjab IGP. Khan Baig was transferred and posted as head of the National Police Bureau in Islamabad.
Sources in the police bureaucracy believe Khan Baig, known as ‘yes man’ in the provincial hierarchy, was replaced because of changing political scenario amid mounting Taliban threats.
Sources also claimed Baig was removed for poor performance since street crimes and corruption increased manifold under his command. During his tenure, Baig tried to confront many challenges but failed to come up to the government’s expectations. Whether it was the case of five-year-old girl who was found gang raped in Lahore, the killing of rape victim in Muzaffargarh, the Joseph Colony incident and the sectarian strife in Rawalpindi, Khan Baig failed to deliver.
In February 2013, former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had appointed Sukhera as IGP in Balochistan. Sukhera survived two deadly attacks in Balochistan. First attack on Sukhera was carried out in May 2013 when six people were killed and 70 others injuries in a suicide car bombing near his official residence. In August, at least 30 members of the police force including a DIG and SP were killed and 60 others injured in a suicidal attack at the police headquarters in Quetta. Mr Sukhera survived the attack as the bomber exploded his vest before his arrival for the funeral prayer of martyred cops.
The new Punjab IG belongs to 10th common and has served in the Punjab on key posts such as SSP Sargodha, Multan, Jhang and Gujranwala. Sukhera also served as chief of the Counter Terrorism Department in Punjab.
In Balochistan, Sukhera successfully purged police of all kinds of influence and political pressure besides boosting the morale of the law enforcing agency by taking multiple initiatives. He fulfilled his promises of improvement in the law and order situation as compared to the previous year.
As a matter of fact, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif himself interviews, short-lists and orders the appointments of officers on key posts. Will the new IGP Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera bow down to political pressure like his predecessors in the Punjab or he will struggle to get freehand, is a million dollar question. Rampant corruption, police reforms, training opportunities, and declining morale of the policemen are some major challenges to the new IGP in the Punjab province.
A police source claimed that Sukhera would continue to fight terrorists besides implementing merit-based policy.