LAHORE - The top brass police officers have jumped into the race to fill the slot of Inspector General of Police Punjab, which is supposed to be vacated on December 31, 2010, after the retirement of the serving IGP Tariq Saleem Dogar. The bureaucratic wing of Central Police Office (CPO) and political wings of both major political parties including PPP and PML-N have started their efforts to get appointment of their dear one on such a key position. The CPO sources said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was earlier interested to send the incumbent IGP on long leave as the PML-N leadership expressed concerns over the performance of Tariq Saleem Dogar soon after the back-to-back suicidal attacks on Data Darbar. The CM also snubbed IGP after three blasts at Gamay Shah. The IGP had moved an application for Hajj this year but he was directed to maintain law and order due to prevalent situation in the country, they added. IGP Tariq Saleem Dogar, hailing from Sahiwal, was appointed as IGP on April 27, 2009, after the retirement of former IGP Shaukat Javed. The sources privy to the development said Shahbaz Sharif has been conducting interviews of different senior police officials being considered suitable for the slot. After the interviews, three to four names will be sent to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who will appoint one of the officials on the consent of CM Punjab. Punjab Constabulary Commandant Additional Inspector General (Addl IG) Haji Habibur Rehman who has already met PML-N leadership at Jati Umra, Raiwind, for the aforesaid purpose is being considered the most suitable man for both PPP and PML-N despite the fact he was appointed as CCPO Lahore when the Governors Rule was imposed in Punjab in March 2009, sources said. The two other senior officials including Malik Iqbal, IG Balochistan and IG Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Javed Noor can also be posted as IGP Punjab as it is said they can deliver in critical circumstances. However Punjab Police Welfare and Finance Department Head Addl IG Aftab Sultan, having no political background, is also being considered the strong candidate for the top slot. In-fact all the honest top police officials are favouring Aftab Sultan owing to his good character but some say his honesty may be considered his main drawback. Sources said Tariq Khosa, Sarmad Saeed (Addl. IG Training), Ch Tanvir (Addl. IG Punjab) will also give tough time to other 'contestants for the slot, as they have strong influence among political circles. Insiders said the appointment of IG Motorway Dr Wasim Kauser as IG Punjab would not be a miracle as according to previous history all the three IGs were brought from Motorway Police including former IGP Ziaul Hassan, Ahmed Naseem and Shaukat Javed. However the IGP Tariq Saleem Dogar was appointed from Addl IG Elite Force. Aftab Sultan, when contacted, said preference of merit in this appointment would definitely support the government position.