26 Nov 2022

By Rehan Piracha

LAHORE: Shazia Sarwar, a female officer from Balochistan, has relinquished charge of her office as the district police officer of Layyah after she was reportedly removed from her post allegedly to please some local politicians. 

This has put a question mark on the claims made by Pakistan Tehrik Insaf chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan in his speeches that there was no political interference in the police under federal and provincial governments ruled by his party. The Punjab Police senior officials have locked horns with the provincial government on her transfer. The news of her removal also echoed in the Supreme Court during the hearing of a petition against political interference in police matters. The other members of the bench are Justice Ayesha Malik and Justice Athar Minallah.

“The recent transfer of DPO Layyah was also on similar grounds,” the petitioner’s counsel argued before the three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

268 DPOs transferred in Punjab in last 4 years  

The petitioner, Rana Tahir Saleem, a resident of Faisalabad, informed the court that 268 DPOs were transferred to Punjab in the last four years. He is seeking court directions for stopping illegal political interference in police matters. He also raised the issue of blatant violation of the Police Order 2002 regarding the security of tenure and in transfer-postings of police personnel from station house officers to inspector general of police.

The court observed that such circumstances prompted officers to get desirable postings using political clout. The CJP said the counsel had pointed out that the matter was not limited to Punjab. At the request of the petitioner, the court broadened the scope of the plea to other provinces instead of just Punjab.

The Supreme Court has sought a record from the federal government and the provinces of transfers and postings in police departments over the past eight years.

Occupation of disputed desert lands

Reportedly, local politicians allied with the provincial government wanted the DPO’s help in occupying a piece of `disputed desert land` in the jurisdiction of Chobara police station. Hundreds of acres of desert land are owned by locals, including some widows, in Layyah district. Shazia Sarwar came to know that a stay had already been granted by the Lahore High Court on the disputed land, issuing directions to maintain the status quo till the final decision on the litigation.

Shazia Sarwar had suspended a station house officer (SHO) from service, for supporting the local politicians in their land occupation bid, besides transferring his subordinate staff. This infuriated the local politicians who approached the provincial government for her transfer. 

Opposing her transfer, senior police officials in South Punjab also took up the matter with the acting provincial police chief. The officials said the removal of Layyah DPO would not meet the ends of justice under the prevailing circumstances. 

Shazia Sarwar, who hails from Bolan district of Balochistan, has served in different districts of Punjab. She was also posted as senior superintendent of the Police School of Intelligence in Lahore and Assistant Inspector General of the Gender Crime unit.


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