ISLAMABAD - In what can be dubbed as reflection of a big no-confidence in the working style and policies of Imran-led government, Punjab Police Reforms Commission Chairman Nasir Khan Durrani on Tuesday resigned from his office apparently in protest against the premature transfer of Inspector General Punjab police.

The resignation came hours after Punjab government transferred Punjab police chief Muhammad Tahir Khan and replaced him with Amjad Javed Saleemi. The transfer was, however, suspended by the Election Commission of Pakistan, calling it a violation of code of conduct ahead of by-polls.

Durrani had taken charge of the office of Chairman Police Reforms Commission on September 17. Sources in the PTI said Durrani had reservations over the immature transfer of Punjab IGP Tahir Khan. Earlier in the day, the PTI government had issued a notification regarding appointment of Amjad Javed Saleemi as the new inspector general.

The government’s decision to replace Tahir Khan with Amjad Javed Saleemi just days ahead of the October 14 by-polls not only came as a big blow to the government which is already struggling on the economic and administrative front but also invited ire of Election Commission of Pakistan. The ECP suspended the notification, issued by the government regarding transfer of Tahir Khan same day and also sought report from the Secretary Establishment within two days.

Following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s nod, the Punjab government had decided to form the Police Reform Commission under the leadership of Nasir Khan Durrani, a well-reputed former Inspector General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police and an incumbent Member of the Punjab Public Service Commission.

The Police Reform Commission was tasked with recommending measures to transform the otherwise highly politicised Punjab police into a professional outfit which would be politically neutral, operationally autonomous, service-oriented and externally accountable. Police reforms were one of the major commitments of Imran Khan and the PTI in its election campaign.

The high-powered commission was tasked to steer Punjab police out of political interference. The commission is to submit recommendations to the chief minister, from time to time, for issuance of directives to the police and other departments for its implementation.

A PTI spokesman confirmed to The Nation that Durrani has resigned as Chairman of the Police Reforms Commission due to premature transfer of IG Punjab Police Tahir Khan. He said Durrani had reservations over the transfer of the IG.

The Tuesday’s decision of replacing Tahir Khan with Amjad Javed Saleemi was not taken well even in the ECP which had barred the government from making any postings and transfers in the wake of by-elections scheduled for October 14.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had told reporters that Tahir Khan was being replaced for not abiding by the government orders. Saleemi, a BS-22 grade officer was serving as a commandant of the National Police Academy before his new appointment. He also served as Sindh IG under the caretaker government from June to September 2018.

 

ECP ORDER

 

Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday suspended the notification announcing the appointment of Amjad Javed Saleemi as the Punjab police chief.

The ECP informed the Establishment Division through a letter that it had suspended the notification as it was a violation of the commission’s directives of September 3, 2018, banning postings and transfers of government officials in the wake of the by-elections scheduled for October 14.

Through the letter, the ECP director (elections) has instructed the secretary of the Establishment Division to explain within two days why its directions “have not been complied with”.

Earlier in the day, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for Punjab had been changed for a second time in two months, as Saleemi replaced Muhammad Tahir Khan as the provincial police chief.

The Cabinet Secretariat’s notification had announced the change “with immediate effect and until further orders”.

There was no reason mentioned for the transfer in the notification.

After a shuffle in the police force in September, Saleemi was replaced in Sindh by Syed Kaleem Imam who was the then Punjab IGP. Tahir Khan, who was the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) IGP at the time, was appointed as Punjab’s police chief. Salahuddin Khan assumed the position of KP’s police chief.

Information Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry had told reporters that Tahir Khan was being replaced for not abiding by the government orders. The government had also developed disagreements with Tahir Khan over some inter-departmental issues, he added.