LAHORE: Additional Inspector General retired Capt Arif Nawaz Khan has been appointed as new inspector general of Punjab police.
The decision was taken on Tuesday; a day before the next hearing of a petition that had challenged the appointment of acting IG retired Capt Usman Khatak as permanent police chief, by the Lahore High Court today (on Wednesday).
The LHC on July 18 had suspended a notification issued for the appointment of Mr Khattak as the permanent IGP of the province over violation of court orders.
The court had directed the Punjab government to make appointment of the next IGP in accordance with the Police Order 2002 till next hearing.
Following the court order, the government had been left with a limited choice with regard to eligible candidates for the slot in BS-21 to make the appointment for a three-year term.
The establishment division on Tuesday issued a notification for appointment of the new IGP without mentioning the time period of the officer’s tenure as police chief.
A copy of the notification available with Dawn reads, “Capt (Retired) Arif Nawaz Khan, a BS 21 officer of Police Service of Pakistan presently serving under government of Punjab is transferred and posted as Provincial Police Officer in his own pay and scale with immediate effect and until further orders”.
A senior officer said that following the LHC’s directions, the government was briefed that there were hardly two senior police officers in Punjab who had three or more year service in BS 21 – Special Branch Additional Inspector General Faisal Shahkar and Operations Additional IG retired Capt Arif Nawaz.
The other contenders for the police top slot included Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Capt (Retired) Amin Wains and Punjab Highway Patrolling Additional IG Amjad Javed Saleemi, but both of them had less than three year of service left.
The officer said the matter was also discussed in some recent meetings of the senior police officers who were of the view that the issue was related to “misinterpretation of the law”.
They had claimed that the Police Order 2002 had specified three-year period as “upper limit” which did not mean that every IGP should necessarily be posted for that specified period.
The top hierarchy in the Punjab police had also expressed its displeasure over the way the case was pursued by the government in the LHC, saying the “correct interpretation” of Police Order 2002 was the only solution to the issue.