The tussle that started with the transfer of Sindh Police chief Allah Dino Khawaja by the Sindh government is not over yet. The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, under the charge of former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, made headlines, was decided in favour of the AD Khawaja, and the matter seemingly ended there - with the Sindh government stopped from removing the police chief and the powers of ordering transfers and postings of police officials remaining firmly in the hands of senior police officers.

However the central issue beyond AD Khawaja – who has ultimate control over police appointments in Sindh – continues to ramble on. Rebuffed, the Sindh government has struck back. After facing stiff resistance in the Assembly the provincial government reinstated the Musharraf-era Police Order 2002, with a few amendments, giving administrative powers back to the Sindh government. While provincial ministers painted the law as measure that would increase accountability and efficiency, the true purpose of the bill – known to all – came to the fore a few days after it has been signed into law.

On Monday the Sindh government transferred several police officers and appointed new ones amidst a major reshuffle of the force, including Karachi police chief, Additional IG (AIG) Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh. The government claims performance and a climbing crime rate made them make the changes, but the real reason – apparent since the AD Khawaja saga – is the pliancy of police officers.

It is no surprise that in place of incumbent Karachi police chief, the Sindh government has bought in Ghulam Nabi Memo, a grade-21 officer who hasn’t performed policing duties for eight years. Clearly performance is not the only criteria in play.

The Sindh government has effectively subverted the judgment of the Supreme Court, but since it has gone the route of legislating powers to itself it is difficult to see these moves being challenged in the court. But considering that the apex court reserves the right to strike down laws outright, it might have the final say yet.