The federal cabinet on Friday approved the appointment of Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar as the new Sindh inspector general, effectively replacing Dr Syed Kaleem Imam.
In an official notification issued by the Establishment Division, Mahar, “a grade 22 officer serving as the inspector general of the Pakistan Railways police, has been transferred and posted as the provincial police officer, government of Sindh, with immediate effect”.
Mahar had also served as Karachi’s police chief in the past.
On January 27, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to replace Imam during a one-on-one meeting with the premier. The prime minister had given a “positive response” to the CM’s request.
The shift in the federal government’s stance came after Islamabad had categorically told the Sindh government that it could not unilaterally repatriate or transfer IG Imam.
The establishment division in a letter to the Sindh chief secretary had stated that giving charge of the inspector general of police (IGP) to an additional IG would not be compatible with a 1993 agreement between the federal government and federating units.
Earlier, the Sindh government in its January 16 letter to the establishment secretary had stated that “till the time a new IGP is posted, the government of Sindh will assign look-after charge of the post of IGP to an additional IGP (BS-21) currently working in the province”.
However, in response to the province’s letter, the federal government in its letter dated January 17 pointed out that “the look-after charge of the post of IGP Sindh cannot be assigned to any additional IGP of police working in the province being not covered under the inter-provincial agreement of 1993”.
A source at the CM House had told Dawn that the provincial government had decided to remove Imam and a special cabinet meeting was called to this effect as he was reportedly not ‘toeing’ the government’s line.
The source had said police officers nowadays considered themselves as a force and independent and so they did not follow the policy of the government.
However, a source close to IGP Imam cited several reasons for his removal.
The source revealed that the government had decided to transfer the IGP as he was not entertaining or accommodating “illegal and irregular” demands of top leadership of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and its lawmakers.
The source had added that the PPP was unhappy because the IGP did not entertain demands of posting of SHOs, DSPs at local level, registered a case against a provincial minister, exposed alleged criminal activities of party leaders and other influential persons and was not giving them space to manoeuvre.
The IGP also did not allow the provincial government to use funds allocated to police to further the interests of MPAs or government, the source had said.