KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has reserved its verdict on a petition against the removal of Sindh Police Chief A.D. Khawaja while extending its stay order against his removal till pronouncement of the judgment. A two-judge bench headed by Justice Munib Akhtar reserved the verdict after hearing concluding arguments from Advocate General Sindh Zameer Ghumro, Assistant Attorney General Salman Talibuddin and the petitioner lawyer Faisal Siddiqui. 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. The Advocate General argued that IG Khawaja, a junior grade-21 officer in the seniority of the officers of Police Services of Pakistan (PSP), was serving on an own-pay-and-scale basis on grade-22 post of the provincial police chief. He, therefore, was removed to appoint a grade-22 officer on the post in compliance of the apex court orders. He said that the powers were vested with the provincial government to remove any IGP at any point in time, adding the high court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter as it related to the terms and conditions of services. Earlier, the incumbent IGP had submitted an application through his counsel in the court, asking it to allow it to leave the post as he said, “since the last six months he has found it increasingly difficult to discharge his duties under the present circumstances.” He said that he was unable to bring much-needed reforms in the police force or effectively exercise his command over it. “The existing circumstances were not conducive to his doing his job and striving to achieve unfinished goals with regard to police reforms,” he added. He, therefore, pleaded the judges to remove the injunction while allowing him to approach the federal government to recall his services from the province.