LAHORE - The rulers’ message is very clear in the case of former Islamabad SSP (Operations) Muhammad Ali Nekokara that it is almost impossible for an upright officer to discharge his duties with honesty and dignity, as per the law and the constitution.

An officer who fails to carry out the unlawful directions and show complete loyalty to the regime should be ready to face the consequences, sometimes even dismissal from service.

Civil servants usually oblige the political elite to have good postings and promotions and display a fair degree of obedience to their political masters. But in order to serve under the incumbent rulers, one has to show complete obedience and loyalty, and there is no room for a ‘No’ to any of their orders.

Former SSP Nekokara’s ‘sin’ was that he opposed use of force against the charged protesters of PTI and PAT during Azadi and Inqilaab March, and communicated his concerns on the consequences of the potential use of force against the protesters to the interior secretary on August 26, 2014.

He believed that use of force on a crowd of more than 30,000 including women and children by a loosely integrated force consisting of police units from Punjab Police, AJK Police and Railways Police in addition to Rangers and Levies along with Islamabad Police entailed serious risk of misuse of authority and undue loss of human lives.

Background interviews with competent law enforcers and intelligence officials endorsed Nekokara’s assessment for avoiding use of force on a charged crowd that could lead to a Model Town-like incident in the federal capital or even to bloodshed on a larger scale. They were of the opinion what Nekokara did should be the response of any professional and upright police officer while dealing with a situation like that. They said use of force by Asamtullah Junejo, who replaced Nekokara, endorsed this assessment that countering the crowd with sheer force would only prove counter-productive.

Asmatullah, who was dubbed as ‘Chul Bul Panday’ (hero of a Bollywood movie, Dabaang) by the media because of his aggressive posture, had to suffer serious injuries during the face off with the PTI and PAT protesters and retreat ultimately. Nekokara, on the other hand, used measured force keeping in view the sensitivity of the situation and succeeded in stopping the protesters’ advance but refused to use brute force.

Nekokara made efforts to use minimum force keeping in view the sanctity of human life and citizens right to life as enshrined in the constitution of the country. When Islamabad deputy commissioner decided to use force against the protesters on August 30, 2014, Nekokara implemented the decision to tear gas the protesters and stopped them from moving towards the Prime Minister House.

He performed his duties on August 30 and 31 with courage and discipline during the period of most serious police engagement with the protesters while trying to keep a balance between his duty to protect human lives and to guard the vital state buildings, despite his stated opposition to use of force.

On 31 August, he opposed further use of force against the protesters of PAT and PTI present in front of the Parliament House as it had the potential to cause further loss of lives the way it had happened in Model Town Lahore where the police locked itself into a stiff situation and remained adamant on removing the barriers without realising that it could bring out disastrous consequences.

He thus also made a request on August 31, 2014 to the competent authority to post him out in view of what he perceived to be a professional difference of opinion between him and his superiors. The interior ministry surrendered his services to the Establishment Division the same day. The fact remains that force was never used against those protesters after that point.

PTI and PAT also nominated him in two separate FIRs for using force against them. The government then initiated inquiry against Nekokara, which was baseless according to his colleagues and some intelligence reports. The inquiry headed by Balochistan IG Muhammad Amlish violated the due process and he completed the inquiry in an undue haste without cross-examining witnesses.

The regime has now relentlessly pressurized Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry who is the authorised officer to dismiss him from service and he has recommended dismissal of Muhammad Ali Nekokara from service. The officers who have an authority in the inquiry against Nekokara include Balochistan IG Muhammad Amlish, Foreign Affairs Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and Establishment Secretary Nadeem Hassan Asif.