ISLAMABAD - The government on Wednesday dismissed former Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Muhammad Ali Nekokara from service for ‘escaping responsibilities without solid reason’ during last year’s protests in the capital by the PTI and the PAT.

But media, citing the under-fire officer and sources close to him, has been reporting that he was in fact being punished for refusing to use force against the protesters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). Nekokara had reportedly refused to obey Secretary Interior Shahid Khan’s illegal orders to use force against protesters in Islamabad in August last year.

The Establishment Division Wednesday issued a notification of dismissal from service of the officer. Muhammad Ali Nekokar, a PSP officer, confirmed to The Nation that he has received the notification of Establishment Division and said he reserves the right to file appeal against the decision in 30 days.

The government, after his refusal to obey, made Nekokara Officer on Special Duty (OSD) and the Establishment Division launched an inquiry against him in which Foreign Secretary Azaz Chaudhry was appointed authorised inquiry officer. Azaz called Nekokara for personal hearing a day before the key visit of Indian foreign secretary on March 2, 2015.

The Establishment Division withheld the salary of Nekokara from the day one of his suspension contrary to rules as the government cannot withhold salary of any civil servant during the suspension period and even the Establishment Division did not issue any show cause notice in this regard.

There are precedents in which senior police officials had not obeyed the orders. Former Gujranwala SSP Athar Waheed had also disobeyed the government orders during the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) long march during the movement for reinstatement of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Athar clearly violated government orders and civil services rules by refusing to stop the long march, which was being led by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif.

Nawaz Sharif, who is now prime minister, and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, now chief minister of Punjab, had appreciated Athar Waheed and he was given good position by Punjab government in ‘reward for his feat’. He is on a course in Australia now a days.

A police constable had also disobeyed the orders of his seniors and warned that he will quit the job, instead of creating hurdles in PMLN long March. After the announcement of police constable, Nawaz Sahrif called him and praised his ‘braveness’ of disobeying the orders of seniors and kissed him in pleasure.

Talking to The Nation, former Sindh Inspector General Afzal Shigri condemned the act of the government and said that under the Civil Services Rules every civil servant has right of not obeying wrong or illegal orders of the government and former SSP denied the orders to launch operation against people.

He said civil servants of the country are employees of the state, instead of any particular government. He said that some police officers who were part of the Model Town operation against PAT workers were also facing inquiries, though they carried out the operation on the orders of the provincial government. Shirgi said that PM should take notice of the dismissal of a foreign qualified officer and restore his services during his appeal process.

The interior ministry however said on Wednesday that the government never asked any police officer to use force during the sit-ins of two opposition parties. The ministry in a statement strongly rebutted the news that Nekokara was punished by the rulers for not fulfilling their wish.

“It is a fact that SSP concerned refused to continue with his duties when sit-ins were at its climax and escaped his responsibilities without any solid reason,” the statement said, adding that the former SSP later presented the excuse that he had been asked to use force.

“To escape duty to protect lives of masses and the public property in emergency conditions by police is a compoundable offence,” the ministry said. The ministry said that SSP had been dismissed after an inquiry committee recommended that he had violated rules and regulations.

On the other hand, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has taken notice that two police officers of Punjab Police impersonated themselves as FIA officers before Interpol in Saudi Arabia. The minister directed the Punjab Police to complete the inquiry within seven days and start action against these officers.

Both the officers have already been suspended on the directions of the minister. These two officers reportedly went to Saudi Arabia on a private tour and impersonated themselves as FIA officers before Interpol in Saudi Arabia.