LAHORE - Another five-year term of Shehbaz Sharif as Punjab chief minister will end by the end of this month. The Punjab police department is preparing for a major reshuffle with transition of powers in the center and provinces, leading up to the general elections 2018.

Many politically-tainted police officers will be removed from key posts. And many are in the race to grab lucrative slots under the caretaker set up.

Reason is simple; a large number of police officers presently serving on key posts in the province were handpicked. In fact, the police department cannot order postings and transfers independently since the chief executive of the province himself interviews officers before ‘assigning’ them the new postings.

During his tenure, Shehbaz Sharif ordered all key police postings from the rank of district police officer to the regional police officer. Under the caretaker setup, all the police officers serving in different districts and divisions would be reshuffled, the way they were replaced under caretaker set up in 2013.

The ruling PML-N has already got their blue-eyed officers adjusted on important postings keeping in view the political connections and service tenure of the officers. During informal chat a police officer was of the view that politicians control and influence police for their own interests. He said the department should be given freehand in administrative affairs.

Several officers during background interviews also complained that the Punjab Inspector General of Police should be given freehand in all administrative matters.

What to say about political affiliation of police officers in Punjab, where a number of family members or relatives of the serving police officers are in politics. In our protocol conscious society, police matter in every matter. There are a number of examples how police played ‘important role’ in pre-poll rigging for power politics in the past.

Almost all the political parties have kicked off their election campaigns across the country with new promises ranging from justice to jobs, and economic reforms to rural development.

The Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan must take notice of political postings already ‘done’ in some provinces. The caretaker set up should be given freehand to post impartial, honest, and dutiful officers not only to control rising crimes rate in Punjab but also to help ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.

During the previous elections, Punjab’s Central Police Office had introduced a comprehensive security strategy for the Punjab province as special task forces were constituted, comprising senior officials from the intelligence, security, and law enforcing agencies and local administration. This pattern is likely to be followed again, according to officials familiar with the development.

The special task forces, also called intelligence and security committees, were tasked to implement the Master-Plan to ward off any possible terror attempt besides providing security cover to the leading personalities and international delegates in 2013 elections.

Under the caretaker set up, this year again the government will ensure close liaison among various intelligence, security, law enforcing agencies, and local administration at the provincial, regional and district level.

Special committees will monitor the security situation round-the-clock by ensuring proper contacts among different security, intelligence, and law enforcing agencies to maintain, peace, law and order. The task forces would also provide security cover to the national leaders, important personalities, and, international journalists during the General Elections 2018 across the Punjab province.

The Provincial Intelligence and Security committee comprises constituted in 2013 had at least 11 members and the committee was headed by Additional-IG Punjab. Commandant PC, Additional-IG Special Branch, Additional-IG (CTD), DIG Operations Punjab, Additional Home Secretary Punjab, and representative of Intelligence Bureau, ISI, MI, and DG Rescue-1122, and DG Civil Defense were members of the committee.

This committee was bound to report to the IGP about the security and intelligence related issues involving national leaders, important personalities, and international journalists in the province.

Again, the Regional Intelligence and Security committee will comprise of eight members and headed by the RPO concerned. The DPOs, SPs of Special Branch and CTD, and a representative of divisional administration, Intelligence Bureau, ISI, MI, divisional head of the Rescue-1122, and divisional head of Civil Defense would be the members of the committee.

The committees would not only share intelligence with the security committees on regular basis but also actively work on the threat assessments. The committees will also be responsible for proper implementation of the code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan for the Election 2018. In the light of the Master Plan, it will be the responsibility of the committees to review security plan.

Similarly, the District Intelligence and Operational committees will be headed the DPO concerned in each district. The SP Headquarters in each district, SDPOs, and a representative of district administration, Intelligence Bureau, ISI, MI, Rescue-1122, and Civil Defense would be the members of the committee.

The committees would not only share intelligence with the security committees on regular basis but also actively work on threat assessments. The committees would be required to properly implement the code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan of the Elections 2018. In the light of the Master Plan, it will be the responsibility of the committees to review security plan.