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Sindh police set up committee to probe authenticity of SSP's report against minister.

Byline: Imran Ayub

KARACHI -- After change of command, Sindh police appears to be backtracking on its earlier stance on a report by a SSP that accused a Pakistan Peoples Party leader of Shikarpur and a key member of provincial cabinet of 'patronising criminals and using them for political and financial gains' as it sets up a committee to 'enquire into authenticity' of the very report, it emerged on Wednesday.

Then Shikarpur SSP Dr Mohammad Rizwan Ahmed Khan had prepared the report in January 2020 which had levelled serious allegations against Sindh Minister for Energy Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh and caused to aggravate already strained relations between Sindh police and provincial government.

Mr Sheikh had sent a Rs1 billion defamation notice to the SSP 'but at that time Sindh police had stood firmly by its senior officer and dismissed reservations of the provincial government,' said a source recalling the details of the case.

'The very next month Sindh police approached provincial home department and sought formation of a joint investigation team comprising members of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies to expose the culprits pointed out by the report,' said the source.

Sindh police had also requested to recommend long-term measures to shield the force from 'extraneous pernicious influence' which affected its efficiency and discipline, said the source.

'Therefore, I am directed to request you that keeping in view the gravity of the issues raised in the report, a JIT comprising members of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies may kindly be constituted to enquire into the allegations, expose the culprits, and recommend long term measures to shield police from extraneous pernicious influence which adversely affect not only the efficiency and discipline of the force but also threaten law and order and public safety,' said the source quoting February 2020 letter by Sindh police to the home department.

But the Sindh police made a complete about face after change of command and set up a committee headed by DIG Sukkur with DIG Special Branch and SSP Shikarpur as its members to 'enquire into the authenticity' of the report which levelled serious charges against the provincial minister.

The SSP's report, a copy of which is available with Dawn, accuses Sheikh of using 'his criminal wing against his political opponents and creating fear in society'. The report alleged that 'his men' also killed the son of a political opponent, Shah Nawaz Brohi.

According to the report, which was tagged 'secret' and addressed to deputy inspector general of Shikarpur, 'Sheikh has insatiable lust for control over police and he constantly pressurises the SSP of the district to post his loyal police personnel who then leaked the secret information to him.'

'Furthermore, Imtiaz Sheikh interferes in posting and transfer of police personnel to key posts, such as SHOs, and continuously exerts pressure on the undersigned for posting of police personnel for gaining their loyalty,' it added.

As proof of his allegations, the SSP attached cellular data record of the energy minister, his secretary, son and others close to him, highlighting the number of times they had contacted 'wanted' criminals, such as Atto Sheikh, who was nominated in dozens of cases.

The fresh move by Sindh police to call into question its own officer's report has raised many questions. A petitioner Mohammad Ahsan, who had sought disqualification of the minister after he was 'exposed' by the SSP's report, called the Sindh police move 'against defined rules'.

'We have already sent a legal notice to Sindh IGP and other officers concerned on the issue,' said Fawad Ali Khichi Advocate, the petitioner's lawyer. 'How can the IG office, which has already sent a request to home department requesting the formation of a JIT on the basis of the SSP's report to expose the alleged culprits, set up a committee to check the authenticity of the same report? This doesn't sound fair and appears to be a move aimed at undermining competent and honest officers,' he said.

Secondly, he said, it was against the defined rules as the matter was already in court and its proceedings were suspended due to lockdown imposed in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
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Author:Imran Ayub
Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:May 28, 2020
Words:784
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