LAHORE – Since the provincial government has given ‘go ahead’ to promote the outstanding cops purely on merit, more than 125 inspectors are preparing to get promoted to the rank of deputy superintendent of police (DSP), a powerful post in the police.

Hundreds of rankers have been waiting for their turn since 2007 and are still uncertain whether the department will manage to resolve the long-standing tussle between the directly inducted inspectors and the rankers. Rankers say that since the government had inducted direct inspectors in the police in 1993, 1995, and then 1998, it badly disrupted the pecking order in the department where earlier there were only two cadres – rankers (constables, head constables and ASIs) and PSP officers, selected through federal public service commission.

According to rankers, the officers of inspector rank could only by inducted on 10 per cent vacant seats but the powerful politicians have badly damaged the chain of command in the police service by exercising new experiments. The government had relaxed the rules to accommodate the influential personalities and to get their favourites adjusted on the powerful seats. The rankers revealed the action had deprived them of their seniority rights as the newly inducted cops had been what they say ‘imposed’ on them.

Rankers hope that the provincial police chief, Muhammad Habib-u-Rehman, could be the last ray of hope as the Babus are creating hurdles in the promotion process.

After many years, the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) has been assessing the cases and is all is all set to approve the much-awaited promotions during its next meeting, most probably this week. The promotion policy has triggered a tense debate in the police, where many are excited and some are disappointed.

Last week, the DPC met and examined the promotion cases but the meeting ended without any conclusion. On the orders of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Muhammad Habib-ur-Rehman, more than 100 cases of out-of-turn promotions were withdrawn from the DPC.

According to some officers of Police Services of Pakistan (PSP) cadre, out-of-turn promotions for police officials would open the floodgates of police encounters in the province. They say that most of the rankers serving as superintendents of police (SPs) and deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) in Lahore were a product of the out-of-turn promotion policy, as they were “encounter specialists” and had their own squads in the department to do the task.

Political pundits believe that although Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif had announced out-of-turn promotions with the good intention of curbing crimes and handling proclaimed offenders, the authority had been misused and the previous cases were a proof of it. They also said that the government had intended to announce out of turn promotions that had been abolished in Police Order, 2002, but the plan was dropped amid d strong resistance.

During the first tenure of Nawaz Sharif as chief minister in 1987, influential political personalities felt that police officials must be given out-of-turn promotions as reward to enhance their efficiency and eliminate crime. The government had amended the Punjab Civil Servants Act, 1974 and Section 8-A was inducted to pave way for the promotions.

As per Section 8-A “notwithstanding anything contained in this act or any other law for the time being in force or in any contract, or rights claimed or acquired under any judgment of any court or tribunal, a civil servant who proven exhibits exemplary intellectual, moral and financial integrity and high standard of honesty and gives extraordinary performance in the discharge of his duties, may be granted out of turn promotion or award in such manner as may be prescribed.” The police order 2002 had banned out of turn promotions and recommended cash prizes and certificates for the outstanding cops.