The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led Sindh provincial government has raised a terrific hue and cry over the ‘interference’ of federal bodies into the province’s operation over the past few years. The objections extended across the board – with contentions against the Sindh Rangers, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), and even the Interior Ministry itself. While the exaggerated cries of unfair persecution might have gotten traction from the PPP cadres, incidents like the removal of Sindh Inspector General of Police, Ghulam Hyder Jamali on Saturday demonstrate exactly why such ‘interference’ is necessary.

Jamali had been under Supreme Court ordered investigation for making illegal appointments to the Sindh police – headed by a commission of senior policemen who worked under him. He, along with other senior officials, had also been indicted by the Sindh High Court in December 2015 in a contempt of court case over a petition filed by disowned Pakistan People’s Party leader Dr Zulfikar Mirza for besieging the SHC and adjoining antiterrorism courts on May 19 and 23 – referring to the incident where policemen in plainclothes beat up Dr Zulfikar Mirza’s guards and damaged their vehicles. In circumstances like these, the IG should have been suspended immediately pending the result of the inquiry, yet not only did he continue to serve as IG under the Sindh government, he was allowed to actively interfere with his own investigation by trying to secure the transfers of the policemen investigating him.

The problem extends beyond just protecting an officer that was favoured; Jamali did the PPP’s dirty work for them – after all Dr Zulfikar Mirza was a thorn only the PPP’s side. Perhaps this explains why he wasn’t removed by the Sindh authorities, or why several judges excused themselves from hearing his hearings. While Jamal and his minions will face justice as their cases go on, it is this political connection that needs to be further investigated.

The episode also reiterates the arguments for inter provincial checks and balances – something the Sindh government has often rejected.

Infringements by police departments around the world are investigated by other police department to avoid problems of bias and self-protection. Yet the same exercise in Pakistan is termed ‘outside interference’ by political parties in Pakistan.