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Another Inspector General Takes Charge in Punjab

by Newsweek Pakistan

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar

Government appoints sixth top cop of province in two years following rift with Lahore CCPO

The government on Tuesday replaced Shoaib Dastgir with Inam Ghani as the Punjab Inspector General of Police, a few days after the former IGP refused to continue his duties over a widely reported feud with Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh. This is the sixth police chief appointed to the province in just two years.

Two notifications issued by the Cabinet Division confirmed that Dastgir had been appointed as the secretary Narcotics Control, while Ghani—previously serving as the Additional IG of south Punjab—had been appointed the new IGP of Punjab.

According to local media, the transfer occurred on the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.

The sudden development follows Dastgir refusing to continue his duties following a speech by the CCPO in which Sheikh allegedly told his subordinates that he had been appointed against the wishes of the IGP. According to sources, he also directed his subordinates to not take any action on orders issued by the IGP’s office without his express approval.

As news of the insubordination reached Dastgir, he reportedly met the prime minister and the chief minister and urged them to launch a probe against the CCPO’s alleged misconduct. Sources said he told the lawmakers that if a probe could not be initiated, then he should be transferred to some other position, as he could not work while having his juniors question his orders.

Local media reported that the prime minister, rather than seeking an inquiry, grew angry at the IGP’s demand for accountability and personally directed his transfer.

“I sent an apology to the IGP by WhatsApp and requested a meeting to explain my words,” CCPO Sheikh told Geo News, adding that his plea had been rejected. However, he admitted that he had told his juniors that his orders should take precedence over the IGP’s and claimed he misspoke because “that is the language this police understands.” Despite the CCPO’s “confession,” the Punjab government, led by the PTI, has opted against any inquiry.

Aftermath

Following reports of the transfer, Additional IG (Finance) Tariq Masood Yaseen sent a letter to the provincial government requesting an immediate transfer, as he is senior to the new IGP. “Till the time a decision is made, my case may be placed before the new IGP for the kind of leave due to him,” reads the letter.

Meanwhile, senior police officers have expressed solidarity with Dastgir and protested the government’s decision. Reportedly, some of the gathered have pledged to not work under the Lahore CCPO for “insulting” the outgoing IGP.

The opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has alleged that the Lahore CCPO had been appointed at the behest of Special Assistant to the P.M. on Accountability Shehzad Akbar for political victimization. Several sources have also alleged this, noting that Sheikh enjoys “strong support” because the PTI is hoping to use him to exert pressure on the PMLN.

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