Prime Minister Imran Khan, after consultation with Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, has approved the removal of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Shoaib Dastagir, sources informed Geo News.
The move comes after an alleged dispute between Dastagir and Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh.
According to the sources, Sheikh will continue to discharge his duties as CCPO.
Dastagir’s removal is the sixth time the post of IGP Punjab has seen a reshuffling.
The much-debated controvery came to a head on Tuesday with a meeting of the Police Service of Pakistan Chapter where Sheikh offered to tender an unconditional apology to Dastagir.
Simultaneously, the issue landed in the office of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, who assured the police that he will listen to both parties.
In the meeting of police officials, chaired by Additional IGP Rao Sardar, Sheikh clarified his position on the ongoing controversy.
“I am ready to offer an unconditional apology to IGP Punjab. The IG is my commander and it is my duty to obey his orders,” the CCPO said, adding that he had not disobeyed any orders from him.
He said that the IGP had so far issued two orders which were implemented and whatever he said in a meeting of police officers was wrongly conveyed to the IGP.
The meeting was also attended by Additional IGP Special Branch, Additional IGP CTD, and the former CCPO.
Meanwhile, CM Buzdar summoned IGP Dastagir and heard his reservations against the appointment of CCPO Sheikh, Geo News reported.
According to sources privy to the meeting, the IGP told the chief minister that the CCPO had spoken against his command in a meeting and allegedly ordered police officers to not listen to the Punjab police chief.
He also told Buzdar that the CCPO’s attitude may affect the morale of the police force.
The chief minister, confirming that a meeting with the IGP had taken place, had said that “the matter will be resolved today”.
He also said that he “calls favours for everyone, not any person in particular”.
To a question, Buzdar said that he had not viewed any statement by either the CCPO or the IGP.
The alleged dispute
Last week, the Punjab government faced an unusual situation when the newly appointed CCPO was accused of speaking against the provincial police chief.
Sources told The News that IGP Dastagir became upset when CCPO Sheikh allegedly told his subordinates that on any sensitive issue the Lahore police must seek his permission even if they received directions from the Central Police Office.
CCPO Sheikh told the newspaper that he was trying to meet the IGP but had not succeeded yet.
He also shared with the publication a WhatsApp message that he claimed to have sent to Dastagir apologising for what he called the “confusion” attributed to his statement, which was perceived as going against the provincial police chief.
Timeline of change of Punjab police chiefs
Punjab has changed five IGPs to date, since the 2018 elections.
|Inspector General Police (IGP) Punjab||Appointment||Removal|
|Dr. Syed Kaleem Imam||13 June, 2018||11 September, 2018|
|Muhammad Tahir||11 September, 2018||15 October, 2018|
|Amjad Javed Saleemi||15 October, 2018||17 April, 2019|
|Capt. (R) Arif Nawaz Khan||17 April, 2019||28 November, 2019|
|Shoaib Dastgir||28 November, 2019||to date|
*Data via the Punjab police website