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SC orders imposing Police Order 2002 in Punjab, KP

CJP says officials at the helm must put on record reasons if any transfer within police department is inevitable

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to implement the Police Order 2002 in order to stamp out unease among the public owing to growing crimes and barred premature transfers and posting in the police department.

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ayesha Malik and Justice Athar Minallah issued these directives while hearing a petition against chronic political interference in the transfers and postings of the Punjab Police.

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In their petitions, Rana Tahir Saleem and Mohammad Javaid apprised the court of the alleged violation of Police Order 2002, mentioning that nine Lahore capital city police officers (CCPOs) and eight inspector generals of police (IGP) were changed between June 7, 2018 and Aug 29, 2022.

The frequent reshuffles reflected that the CCPOs and IGPs had average tenures of 4.5 and 6.2 months only, respectively, according to the petitions.

With the commencement of the hearing, Justice Bandial noted that officials at the helm must put on record the reasons if any transfer within the police department was inevitable. “No officer should be removed without the consultation of a senior officer,” he remarked. The chief justice asked whether the same “formula for good governance” will be pursued in Sindh and Balochistan as well [for the reformation of police working].

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He also sought details from Sindh and Balochistan police departments about transfers and postings. He stated that people were being affected due to growing crime, adding that police officers should not be transferred at the behest of any MPA.

He observed that appointing a DPO or a CPO was the prerogative of the inspector general of police.

“There is no bar on the premature removal of officers under the law, but the prescribed procedure should be followed,” he said, adding there was a general perception that government uses the police as a political weapon.

The chief justice also remarked that cases of murders were also on the rise in KP while incidents of attacks on lawyers were also increasing. “The KP government has not submitted a report regarding police transfers despite a notice,” the CJP said. He added that the court took notice of transfers as the general public was being affected in its wake. After issuing directions, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till the next week.

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