Published On: Fri, Jan 17th, 2020
Published in Category: Karachi

PM knew Sindh was removing IGP Kaleem Imam: Murtaza Wahab

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KARACHI: Sindh government Spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab has called on PTI leaders in the province to check with their leadership before making “ignorant” statements.

He said this to the media on Thursday while justifying the Sindh government’s decision to remove Sindh IGP Dr. Syed Kaleem Imam. He said legal procedure was followed in the entire case.

PTI leaders accused the government of making a unilateral decision to remove the police chief. But Wahab said Prime Minister Imran Khan knew about the decision beforehand.

In November, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah met PM Imran Khan and informed him about the government’s reservations against IG Imam. He told him that the government doesn’t have confidence in him and has compelling reasons to do so, said Wahab.

The police are supposed to work properly and independently, said CM Shah, but they must be accountable as well.

Wahab said PM Khan agreed with the CM that if there is a law and order situation in the province, the chief executive is held accountable, not the police. The PM said it was the same for him.

They agreed that under the Police Act, the process to remove the IG would be started, said the minister. That was on December 23, he said. Despite this, the chief minister waited till January 16 to remove him, he said.

PM House was also intimated by the CM that the cabinet meeting would be held on the issue, said Wahab. My PTI friends have made statements based on ignorance, he said, urging them to consult with the federal government and PM first and then make statements.

In Punjab, five IGs have been changed recently and in KP four have been changed, but no one says anything about that, he said.

Wahab also discussed the “compelling reasons” to remove the IG, including the crime index going up in 2019. He said four-wheel snatchings, murder, attempted murder, burglaries and highway robberies all increased during the year but the IG would not accept that crime was going up.

The police’s main job is policing, he said. But when asked, the IG kept saying it is an “ideal” situation, said Wahab.

He also counted between 10 and 11 incidents of the police killing people by straight firing or in the crossfire during an encounter.

When we ask about the Bisma case, or the Nabeel Hoodbhoy case, we get no response, said Wahab.

Regarding the Hoodbhoy case, he said an independent member of the Public Safety Commission, Nazim Haji, asked the CM to call an emergency meeting on it. The police keep saying they’ll do something, but there is no change, said Wahab.

He said if it was a performance issue, then their target is to improve performance.

Wahab said under the Police Act, the police was independent but it was answerable to the government and Public Safety Commission.

This is also the only province in which the IG is in direct contact with foreign missions, said the minister. He said this isn’t allowed under the federal or Sindh government’s Rules of Business.

He also said that under the same rules, government employees can’t hold press conferences. But the Sindh police love to do that, he said. Wahab also raised the issue of a video statement of an in custody suspect being released and aired in the media.

The suspect was accused of 96 murders and he made allegations against the chief minister but those allegations were aired, he said. And the IG did nothing to stop it, he added.

He said the public didn’t have confidence in the police, as illustrated by the Dua Mangi case. The family chose not to involve the police in the kidnapping because they didn’t believe the police would do anything, he said. Focus on policing, not intrigues, he advised the police.