The Sindh government’s decision to replace the Inspector General Police of the province will not go over well with the federal government, if the reaction of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers in Sindh is anything to go by. Given that the power to replace IGPs rests solely with the federal government, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party in Sindh will have to make its case stronger if it wants support from the centre. But even that might not be enough considering that the two parties don’t agree on too much and there is already disagreement on this issue.

According to the PPP government, there are many reasons for this dismissal but stated ones include irresponsible statements made, unauthorised correspondence with foreign embassies and consulates and mishandling the kidnapping cases in Karachi that made headlines towards the tail end of 2019. However, there is speculation that the real motivation for a replacement is the tussle over who gets to decide postings and transfers; a power which is allotted to the IGP and not the provincial government.

The reasons identified by the provincial government are not nearly as serious as they are being made out to be. As far as the kidnapping cases are concerned, the victims were recovered and the IGP alone cannot be blamed for the delays in recovery.

Based on the situation and how it is developing, it is very likely that the IGP’s letter to the provincial chief secretary regarding the postings played an important part in the Sindh government’s negative opinion of the top police officer in the province. However, the provincial government must adhere to the law; it cannot take over powers of the police chief, and it cannot remove him when he expresses his displeasure against the government.

Consistency in leadership of the police is essential for better protection of citizens and improvement of the force as a whole. Chopping and changing the police leadership line-up every once in a while is of no use to anyone. The provincial government must learn to cooperate with police officials regardless of personal opinions. This removal should not be authorised by the federal government.