KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has issued notices to Sindh chief secretary, and other provincial authorities for withdrawing powers of provincial police chief Allah Dino Khuwaja. Headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, a division bench was seized with the hearing of an application seeking contempt of court proceedings against the provincial authorities for clipping the wings of the IG. Pakistan Institute of Labor, Education and Research (Piler) and other civil society organizations filed the contempt application. These organization had previously filed a petition against removal of AD Khowaja form the top provincial cop’s post and the provincial government’s decision to hand over his services to the center. On May 30, the division bench had reserved its verdict on their petition after lengthy proceedings initiated in December last year. On Friday, their lawyer, Faisal Siddiqui, informed the two-judges that the provincial government had taken away the IG’s powers of transfers and postings of the officers in the police department. Siddiqui alleged that the reshuffles in the police at large scale were being carried out on the directions of the Chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, the home minister Sohail Anwar Siyal and others. Such transfers and postings were made without mandatory consultation with the IG, who was the head of the police force. He claimed that the respondents had paralyzed the IG Khowaja, as his powers had been taken away. The police officers’ transfers and postings without consultation with the IG could prove detrimental to the law and order situation. Siddiqui further argued that the Sindh government could not order transfer or posting of the officers working on the key posts without consultation with the provincial police officer, but the respondents were doing the same. He told the judges that the court had already reserved its verdict in the matter relating to removal of the IG Khowaja, adding the respondents’ act of ordering transfers and postings of the officers without his consultation and leaving him powerless tantamount to committing contempt of the court’s interim orders passed earlier. Therefore, the court was pleaded to restrain the alleged contemnors, including the provincial chief secretary and others, from reshuffling the police officers without discussing the matters with the IGP. It was also requested to initiate contempt of the court’s order proceedings against them for willfully and deliberately ordering reshuffles in violation of the court’s interim orders. Earlier on June 30, the same bench had reserved its verdict on a petition against the removal of A.D. Khawaja while extending its stay order against his removal till pronouncement of the judgment. It allowed IG Khawaja to continue discharging his duties till pronouncement of the verdict on a date to be fixed by the court office later. The rift between the Sindh government and IG Khawaja came to the fore when the former surrendered the services of the latter to the center and appointed additional IG Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti in his place on 1st April. However, the provincial government had to suffer a setback on 3rd April when the high court suspended its notification restoring IG Khawaja. The court observed that the IG could be removed only after the cabinet endorses the decision as the apex court had held in its verdict that provincial governments could exercise their statutory powers conferred on them the cabinet. Published in Daily Times, August 5th 2017.