SHC reserves verdict regarding IG Sindh removal case

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KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a petition against removal of Inspector General Police (IGP) Sindh A. D. Khwaja and seeking reforms in police department after hearing concluding arguments of petitioners’ lawyers, and Advocate General Sindh.

The court also extended the stay order against the removal of the provincial police chief by the Sindh government.

On behalf of the petitioners, advocate Faisal Siddiqi argued that the Supreme Court, in the Anita Turab case, had held that civil servants were not bound to obey illegal orders of their superiors as they owed their first and foremost allegiance to the law and the Constitution.

However, the Sindh government thinks that Anita Turab case is different from Rules of Business Ordinance, he pointed out, adding that it is wrong to think so.

On May 18, the SHC stayed the Sindh government’s removal order and allowed the IG to continue performing his duties.

However, Sindh Attorney General (AG) Zameer Ghumro informed the court that the authority to appoint the IG rests entirely with the Sindh government.

“No individual can challenge the Police Act as per the Constitution, which gives provinces the right to make amendments to the act,” the AG stated.

He added that if the centre is not satisfied with a law passed by the province, then the Supreme Court and not the high court should hear the case. “Such matters should be forwarded to the Council of Common Interests,” he said.

The court questioned the AG about the course of action to be taken if a certain person is affected by a law passed by the province.

On May 17, Khawaja had expressed his wish in the SHC to voluntarily step down from his post in the best interest of the force.

Khawaja was appointed the IG on March 13, 2016.

On April 2, Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti took charge as the acting IG Sindh after the provincial government surrendered Khawaja’s services to the federal government.

A notification issued by the Sindh government that replaced AD Khawaja with Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the IG was suspended by the SHC on April 3.

Most recently, with the return of Sohail Anwar Sial as the Sindh home minister, the conflict between the IG and the provincial government was rekindled.