KARACHI                  -             Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah on Saturday penned yet another letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan to remove Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kaleem Imam and pick one of the five names recommended by the provincial government for the coveted slot of the top cop.

This is a third letter the province’s chief executive has written to the premier on the issue of appointment of a new IGP.

The letter mentions that the federal cabinet’s Jan 28 decision to put the issue on hold “is a violation of a 1993 agreement”, adding Sindh Governor Imran Ismail in the consultation process for choosing the new IGP was inappropriate.

Murad asserted that Kaleem Imam’s attitude was breeding hatred in the province as he had been degrading the provincial government with his non-serious and rude attitude.

On Tuesday, IGP Kaleem, while reacting to certain speculations that he had been transferred from his post, said that he “won’t leave that easily and he had not yet been transferred.”

“A (false) impression is being given that I have been transferred […] even if I am transferred, I am worth my weight in gold,” he said while addressing a ceremony in the provincial capital. “A big conspiracy was hatched against me,” he alleged.

This ceremony is being considered as my farewell ceremony […] It seems like Sindh police are trying to save its budget,” he added.

Later, IGP Kaleem contradicted himself and gave clarification on his remarks that his comments were presented wrongly on the media. “I used the word “conspiracy” in a joke when I was addressing officers at a ceremony,” he said.

According to sources, several members of the cabinet and government allies had raised reservations over the names given by the Sindh government for the post of IGP.

The federal cabinet had recommended consultations of Sindh Governor Imran Ismael and CM Murad Ali Shah to reach consensus on the matter.

Some members suggested considering five names forwarded by the Sindh government for the same post. The cabinet has also observed that any new name for the Sindh IGP could also be considered. On Monday, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan during the premier’s day-long visit to the port city, and the latter approved the request of the CM for replacing Dr Imam as the IGP.

During the meeting held at Governor’s House in Karachi, matters pertaining to federal government-funded development projects in the province, especially in Karachi, came under discussion.

A statement issued by the Sindh chief minister’s spokesperson said that Murad, in his meeting with Prime Minister Imran, discussed various issues including development schemes, wheat shortage, locust swarm attacks, increasing polio cases and the threat of corona virus to Pakistanis. “The prime minister assured the chief minister that all these issues would [be] resolved on top priority basis,” the statement said.

Sources familiar with the matter told the media that Sindh Governor Imran Ismail had also supported the Sindh government’s request for replacement of the IGP. During the meeting, it was agreed that one of the nominated officers by Sindh will be the new IGP, while the premier was also apprised about the decisions and reservations of the Sindh Cabinet.

The Prime Minister also met the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) delegation that expressed their full confidence in Khan’s leadership and assured him of full cooperation. The political situation of Sindh was also discussed in detail during the meeting.

Earlier, in response to a letter by the Sindh government, seeking removal of IGP Kaleem Imam, the federal government put the matter on hold till the “competent authority” reached at a conclusion on the matter.

In the Centre’s letter to the Sindh’s chief secretary, dated January 17, the government’s establishment division stated that the issue of repatriation of IGP Imam and the posting of his replacement, as requested by the Sindh government, is being taken up by the relevant authority and once a decision is reached on the issue, it will be shared with the provincial government.

“Till then Dr Kaleem Imam will continue to discharge his duties as the IGP of the province. The charge cannot be assigned to any additional inspector general of police by the province,” the letter read, clearly outlining that the authority to change the IGP stands with the federal government.

“In case, the competent authority decides to transfer Dr Kaleem Iman (PSP/BS-21), PPO/IGP Sindh, a stop gap arrangement on any basis can only be made by the competent authority,” the letter added. According to the police law, an IGP could be appointed after consultations between the federal government and the government of the said province.

Section 12(2) of the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act, 1961 and Revival of Police Order, 2002) (Amendment) Act, 2019 reads: “The provincial government or the federal government may for ‘compelling reasons,’ in consultation with each other, repatriate, or recall, the inspector general of police, as the case may be.”

The provincial government provided reasons for Dr Imam’s removal as his alleged “non-cooperation with the Sindh government, and failure to implement directives issued from the CM House,” and frequent absence in key meetings of the government.

In Sept 2018, Dr Syed Kaleem Imam was appointed as the inspector general of Sindh police.