In Pakistan, a prevalent norm is that the ruling party thinks that they reserve the right to break rules or regulations. The latest display of such behaviour is the ongoing tussle between IG Sindh and the Government of Sindh. In a letter to CM Sindh the IG has requested him to take immediate action to stop political interference in the affairs of his department. The head of the provincial police in his letter has cautioned that political interference in the Police department will leave the force a laughing stock.

The suggestion made has fallen on deaf ears. A week ago, The Sindh government transferred and appointed five Additional Inspectors General (AIGs) of police — the Karachi police chief and four Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs) — in a major reshuffle that is being seen as a move by political elites to ‘isolate’ incumbent IGP AD Khowaja. Mr Khowaja in his letter to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah expressed serious reservations over the ongoing transfers and postings of police officers “in large numbers and without any consultation with the police department.”

These actions clearly show that the Chief of Sindh Police and the provincial government are not on the same page. The IG is correct in asserting that without consulting senior police officers, frequent transfers and postings of officers badly affects the performance of the department. Humiliating the head of Police department through such measures generates resentment in the officers of the force. Also, such actions on part of the provincial political elite have triggered anxiety among the civil servants.

If the police cannot be respected as an independent force, and is a pawn in the hands of the policy machines, it will never be able to reform, or respond to real threats and crime. Murad Ali Shah as head of the provincial cabinet should consider the plea that IG Sindh has made in his letter. The safety of the province comes before the egos of men.