LHC issues notices over Lahore CCPO suspension

 
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Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Abid Hussain Chattha issued notices to the concerned quarters on Friday seeking a reply in a plea challenging Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore’s continuity of tenure despite suspension.

According to petitioner Safdar Abbas Khan, CCPO Ghulam Mahmood Dogar has continued to hold office despite having been suspended by the federal government. The plea sought the respondent CCPO to be directed against serving duties any further.

The CCPO Lahore, federal government through its cabinet division, Punjab through its secretary home department and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab were made respondents in the case.

The petition implored the court that the CCPO Lahore had been transferred with a clear direction to report to the Establishment Division Islamabad, but the CCPO did not relinquish his duties from the post. After failing to comply with the directives, the CCPO was placed under suspension by the Establishment Division with immediate effect and until further orders.

However, the petitioner alleged that the CCPO has since continued to work at the post till date and argued that the situation has jeopradised the security of a city of two million people. Imploring the court to take notice of the issue, the petitioner argued that as per Police Order 2002, the federal government was empowered to recall the duties of a police officer as capital city police officer.

“The notification issued on September 19, 2022 and November 5, 2022 are unambiguous to this effect hence the CCPO is required to relinquish the post,” added the petition, stating that “such holding of office of CCPO Lahore by the respondent is clearly against the law and he has no authority to usurp the post”.

Justice Chattha heard the arguments and issued notices to concerned parties seeking a response on the matter.

The suspension

Earlier, the federal government issued orders to suspend the Lahore CCPO after the Punjab cabinet moved to transfer Inspector General Faisal Shahkar.

Amid mounting political tension between the PTI and PDM, the Punjab government wanted to transfer IG Shahkar, while the federal government wanted him retained.

In Dogar’s case, the Centre had been exercising its powers to remove him from the position, while the provincial government had been vehemently resisting it.

A notification issued by the Establishment Division last week read that Additional IG Ghulam Mehmood Dogar (BPS-21) had been placed under suspension.

Orders for the CCPO’s transfer had been issued on September 20, reportedly after the federal government was annoyed with him over the registration of an FIR under blasphemy charges at Green Town police station against a federal minister and some PML-N leaders.

However, the Punjab government had refused to surrender his services.

Read more LHC rejects CCPO’s request to set aside suspension notification

Tensions between the Punjab government and the federal government have grown deeper. Talking to the Express Tribune, Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister on Home Affairs Omar Sarfraz Cheema had said that since the CCPO was working in Punjab, he is “at the disposal of the provincial government” and the Punjab government will not suspend Dogar on “the whims of the federal government”.

Cheema had furthered that the act of placing a provincial government official under suspension at the disposal of the federal government was akin to “undermining the provincial government’s authority”, which he deemed as “unacceptable”.

He maintained that to his knowledge the Lahore CCPO will approach the court on Monday, November 7, 2022, against the said order of the federal government.

The minister had asserted that the Punjab government will wait for the direction of the court. “The court’s orders will be executed in letter and spirit,” he added.