LAHORE   -  In what appeared to be a major blow to PM Imran Khan’s claims of depoliticizing the Punjab police, the provincial government on Monday suspended Pakpattan district police officer on the “orders” of an influential person.

Police sources revealed that SSP Rizwan Omer Gondal was suspended by the competent authority after he refused to seek apology from Khawar Maneka, the ex-husband of Bushra Bibi, the third wife of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

An official at the central police office told The Nation that the district police officer had developed a dispute with Khawar Maneka over some administrative issue. It was also learnt that Mr Maneka contacted some high level officials and asked them to punish the officer.

A top official of the provincial government asked the DPO to visit the residence of Maneka, seek apology, and settle the dispute. However, DPO Rizwan Omer Gondal straightforwardly refused to do so. Thus, the government suspended the officer to teach him a lesson, another official commented, requesting anonymity.

It was not clear yet what was the actual dispute between Mr Maneka and the district police officer. However, a police source said both exchanged harsh words after local police stopped Mr Maneka for security checking at a police checkpoint.

The central police office on Monday issued a notification and transferred the officer to the CPO Punjab. The notification (a copy of which is available with The Nation) was issued on the orders of Punjab Police Inspector General Syed Kaleem Imam.

“Rizwan Omer Gondal (PSP/BS-18), DPO Pakpattan, is hereby transferred with immediate effect and directed to report to Central Police Office,” the notification says. A police spokesman last night clarified that the officer was not suspended but transferred from his position. “Inspector General of Police Punjab Dr Syed Kaleem Imam said that DPO Pakpattan Rizwan Omer Gondal was not transferred under any pressure but (actually he was transferred) for making false statements.”

“When the DPO was asked about the incident of misconduct of police with a citizen, he lied and then made false statements regarding transfer orders on social media. Punjab IGP has also orders an inquiry into the matter,” the police spokesman claimed.

According to the Punjab IGP, “Rizwan Omer Gondal has been transferred for his irresponsibility and false claims and that should not be portrayed differently.”

“IG Punjab further said that the irresponsible attitude of the officer has hurt the prestige of the department. He said that the officers and officials who would misconduct or misguide the seniors and those who would misbehave with the citizens will not be spared.”