SC rejects IG’s report on Pakpattan DPO’s transfer, orders NACTA to probe incident

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–CJP lashes out at ex-Punjab IG Imam, says he failed to protect police officers

–Punjab CM Buzdar offers apology, says he wanted to settle issue amicably

 

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday rejected a report submitted by former Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Syed Kaleem Imam regarding the transfer of the District Police Officer (DPO) Pakpattan and ordered NACTA chief Maher Khaliq Dar Lak to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit a report within 15 days.

“We want the complete truth on this,” Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar said, adding that if he found that the report submitted by the IG had “favoured” someone, the matter would turn serious.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing the suo motu case of the former DPO’s transfer following an alleged altercation with Khawar Maneka — the former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife.

After being summoned, the Punjab CM and Ahsan Iqbal Jamil, a close friend of the Maneka family, appeared before the court.

Buzdar told the court, “On my third day after taking charge as the provincial chief minister I learnt of the altercation between the Maneka family and police.”

“I wanted the matter to be resolved through consensus,” he added.

Justice Nisar then asked the Punjab CM, “Did you summon police officers at 10 pm?” To this, Buzdar replied, “I asked them about their health, offered them tea and asked the regional police officer (RPO) to resolve the matter himself,” adding that he did not “exert any political pressure.”

Following this, Buzdar, Jamil and Imam tendered an unconditional apology to the apex court.

Earlier on Monday, the CJP rejected a report submitted by former Punjab IG Kaleem Imam, Justice Nisar summoned the Punjab chief minister, secretary establishment and Ahsan Iqbal Jamil at 2 pm on Monday.

Senior Police Officer Khalid Lak has also been directed to inquire into the transfer of the former Pakpattan DPO.

In his report submitted to the SC on September 12, the former Punjab IG stated that “Punjab CM Buzdar’s intervention in the case was beyond the scope of the inquiry”.

The report did not hold anyone responsible for the transfer of Gondal.

Expressing anger at the former Punjab IG, the chief justice said, “We had faith in you and that’s why we directed you to prepare an inquiry report into the incident but you did it with ill intentions. If I write it, then you will not be able to serve in police any longer.”

Justice Nisar continued, “We trusted you to inquire into the political intervention in the case but you broke our trust.”

He further questioned the former Punjab IG, “Who is Jamil to seek clarification from the DPO? Did you not feel ashamed while writing the report?”

Directing Imam to take his police badge off, Justice Nisar said, “Former DPO Pakpattan was suspiciously transferred at 1 am and you wrote in the report that nothing wrong happened.”

Turning to Imam once again, the chief justice said, “We gave you a chance but you missed it. The court will decide whether you completed your work honestly or not.” He also asked the former Punjab IG to hire a counsel for his defence.

The chief justice further questioned Imam, “What investigation did you conduct? The statements of the regional police officer and the DPO do not match.”

“Why didn’t you stop the police officers from meeting the Punjab CM?” he asked.

In response, Imam said that he was out of the station when he found out about the incident.

“The Punjab CM watched police officers get reprimanded in front of him,” he said, adding that CM Buzdar should appear before the court before the day ends.

The hearing of the case had been adjourned till the Punjab CM and Jamil appeared before the court.

Earlier, the court said that the proceedings over the inquiry report submitted by former Punjab inspector general of police (IGP) Syed Kaleem Imam will be conducted on Sept 17.

The report comprising more than 27 pages contain statements of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Ahsan Jameel Iqbal Gujjar (a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader from Gujranwala and close friend of Khawar Maneka), CM’s personal staff officer (PSO) Umar, chief security officer (CSO) Haider Ali, Khawar Maneka, his son, daughter and police officers.

The inquiry of Additional Inspector General (AIG) Investigation Abu Bakar Khuda Baksh’s and affidavits of former Pakpattan’s DPO and Sahiwal Regional Police Officer (RPO) have also been made a party of the report.

Earlier, former Pakpattan DPO Gondal has submitted his written reply before the inquiry committee averring he hadn’t committed any offence.

As per reply submitted by Gondal, Punjab CM Buzdar called a meeting at CM House soon after the altercation. The reply states that an irrelevant person was also present in the meeting who posed extraneous questions.

The reply also revealed Gondal indulged in a verbal spat with RPO during the same meeting.

Sources privy to police department stated Gondal was immensely pressurised by officials to visit Maneka’s dera to seek forgiveness. During the same huddle, the decision was taken to change Pakpattan DPO as Gondal refused to tender an apology. Gondal asserted Maneka family hurled expletives at police officials.

On the very next day, personal secretary of Punjab CM telephoned DPO to relinquish charge. After 20 minutes, DIG Headquarters released order directing Gondal to relinquish charge as Pakpattan DPO with immediate effect.

Justice Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the transfer.

Last month, reports of Gondal’s transfer sparked controversy as speculation suggested that the police officer was transferred because of the August 23 altercation between police and Khawar Maneka — the former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife.

According to reports, police personnel under Gondal’s watch tried to stop Maneka at a checkpoint for speeding but he did not stop. The police then chased his vehicle and managed to intercept him.

Then Punjab IGP, Imam, soon after the reports, denied that Gondal was transferred under any pressure and said it was done due to his giving misleading statements about misbehaviour by police personnel with a citizen.