LAHORE  -   Prime Minister Imran Khan last week ordered lawmakers to restrain from interfering into administrative affairs of the Punjab Police, especially transfers of lawmen.

The PM issued sterns directives to make the Punjab police apolitical as, according to official sources, Imran Khan was bombarded with a litany of complaints about ministers and even MPAs mounting pressure to favour their blue-eyed cops.

The premier categorically said that all recruitments, postings, and transfers must be made on merit.

Official sources revealed that PM Imran Khan was also informed that some provincial ministers and MPAs wanted to get posted police officers of their own choice on key posts in their hometown. For this purpose, they contacted high-ups in the central police office and the chief minister’s secretariat to get favour. 

According to insiders, PM Khan expressed his dissatisfaction over the ongoing ‘policy’ of transfers and postings in the police department. The move came following a massive reshuffle in the police department in a couple of months.  When the matter was brought into the notice of PM Imran Khan, he straightforwardly rejected the demand of the ministers and ordered the provincial hierarchy to ensure recruitments and postings in the police department purely on merit.

PM Khan also directed the provincial government to ensure all recruitments in police department strictly on merit and initiate steps to make the country’s largest law enforcing agency an independent police force, free of any political interference.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who himself pledged police reforms in his manifesto, said that he wanted to see a depoliticised police force in Punjab. The PM expressed these views while chairing a meeting of Punjab Cabinet at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Lahore. Members of Punjab Cabinet and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also attended the meeting.

During his visit to Lahore, the PM also held separate meeting with Punjab Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar. Administrative matters of the province and the overall law and order situation in the province also came under discussion during the meeting. On this occasion, the PM asked the provincial ministers to work as a team setting aside their personal differences.

Punjab Police Inspector General Amjad Javed Saleemi ordered the transfers and postings of hundreds of police officers including the district police officers to entertain some parliamentarians during the last couple of months. These transfers and postings were the third largest reshuffle in the police department in a couple of months. In July, the caretaker government had also transferred all field police officers including RPOs, DPOs, and SHOs to ensure free and fair elections.

The police department claims that all the postings and transfers are made purely on merit. But, as a matter of fact, the field officers are given key postings on someone’s recommendations only. In the Punjab province, the station house officers and circle officers are posted on the “request” of MNAs, ministers, and other influential individuals.

Like the previous regime, the powerful parliamentarians are virtually running the affairs of the police department and due to such police corruption is rampant in the policing. In Lahore, every police station has been sold out.

 

 

 

Most of the station house officers collect ‘monthly’ from brothels, guesthouses, drug dealers, and gambling dens operating in different parts of the provincial capital.

 

 

 

 

During his tenure, former CM Shehbaz Sharif had himself ordered all key police postings from the rank of district police officer to the regional police officer. The ruling PML-N had got their blue-eyed officers adjusted on all important posts during the last couple of decades. A large number of police officers who were given key posts in the province were handpicked. The police department was literally unable to order postings and transfers independently since the chief executive of the province used to interview senior officers himself before ‘assigning’ them the new postings.

The police stations having highest crime rate are regarded as the “best police stations”. In such stations, the policemen collect huge monthly income from narcotics dealers and those running brothels or gambling dens. The monthly income of the high-income police stations varies from one million to three million rupees, depending upon the numbers of brothels and gambling dens active in the area.

 

Many corruption-tainted officers are among those given ‘new assignment’ under the new government in Punjab. Like previous governments, many SHOs got important positions by using their political connections. Interestingly, all new SHOs are inspector-rank officers. But, they have been serving as SHOs in Lahore for the last one decade.

 

In January, PM Imran Khan constituted a high-powered committee to recommend reforms in the Punjab police on the pattern of Khyber PK. The prime minister also directed the committee to formulate