Will new Punjab IGP tolerate if bypassed in consultative process?
The federal government has set a very bad precedent by appointing a new inspector general police for Punjab (sixth in two years) as replacement to the one who had refused to accept – and work with- a CCPO selected by the relevant authorities without consulting him.
The new IGP – Inam Ghani – may celebrate his aggrandizement for some time but will ultimately realize the mistake of accepting the coveted mantle in the times to come.
For the information of our new readers: The government recently appointed Mr Omar Sheikh as new Lahore CCPO without consulting the (outgoing) IGP – Shoaib Dastgir – who has now been appointed as secretary, narcotics division.
The new CCPO, according to some reports, had told his subordinates that the IGP (Shoaib Dastgrir) was on his way out and his retirement in February has already been notified. He said no order of the IGP should be implemented without his approval.
Mr Dastgir refused to accept the new CCPO because of his irresponsible remarks, and sought his immediate removal from the key post. He also made it clear that he can’t co-exist with him. He also did not tolerate being bypassed in the process for the selection of a new CCPO.
Unluckily, the political bosses both at the provincial and federal levels rejected the demand. And exercising its powers the government has brought in a new IGP.
Since Mr Inam Ghani has accepted the new responsibility he, by implication, is supposed to have accepted that he would have no objection to being bypassed in the appointment of a CCPO during his tenure. Likewise, he would have no reservations if he was not involved in the selection of holders of other important posts.
Will he really agree to surrender this role?
Encouraged by the example set by the new Punjab IGP, the PTI government may wish to adopt a similar procedure in other provinces. As a result, the authority of the police chief would be assumed by the federal government, a situation not justifiable for a disciplined force.
(According to the latest report, PML-N leader Malik Ahmed Khan has challenged former IGP’s transfer as police chief, and the Lahore High Court is scheduled to take up the petition on Sept 10).
Needless to point out that appointees like Omar Sheikh – picked to senior positions without the consent of seniors regard themselves superior to all others because of the support they get from their political patrons. And the seniors, fully aware of the connections of such juniors, cannot give them assignments. This is the unfortunate aspect of our culture.
But now that the change has taken place in Punjab, the new police chief should focus on improving the performance and image of his force.
It’s an open secret that rampant corruption, abuse of power, patronage of crime and barbarity are major complaints against the police. Nothing happens unless the relevant palms are greased; instead of curbing crime many police officials have become patrons of criminal activities; and police stations have become the most dreaded places. Most people avoid registering their complaints with the police as such a step would amount to inviting trouble.
Successive governments have failed in delivering on their boastful claims about changing the police culture. These governments have become part of history, but the corrupt police culture is flourishing as usual.
The new police chief would be doing a great service by addressing these problems.
Reforming the police would be like bringing about a revolution in society. And there is a dire need for such a revolution.