Bigwigs call the shots in police appointments
It is an open secret that politicians and big-shots influence the appointments of police officers. More often than not police officers who merit high-profile posts are ignored in favour of blue-eyed boys.
In private conversations with Dawn, senior police officers repeatedly admitted a recommendation was necessary to obtain an appointment on a major post in the police department, such as inspector-general of police, deputy inspector-general of police, senior superintendent of police, superintendents of police and station house officers.
“Politicians and other big-wigs want those loyal to them on key posts to counter their rivals,” a police official said.
“An officer who is appointed on the basis of a recommendation always takes care of the interests of the big-shot who helped him in getting the post and has no courage to refuse any sort of demands,” he added.
As a result, the upper echelon of the police is filled with officers who enjoy close links with the who’s who of the capital and even the country.
“Powers are misused to victimise innocent people or favour the accused without any fear. Whenever any departmental action is initiated against these officers, they use their links to avoid action,” another official claimed.
On August 23, 2011, the chief commissioner and inspector general of police in front of Senate’s standing committee on interior accepted that the majority of transfers were made on consideration despite availability of competent officers.
Then Inspector General of Police Bani Amin Khan in the meeting had said: “The capital city would have been made crime free if the posting of police officers were not made against recommendations. For every posting of a station house officer, we receive 15 telephone calls.”
Given that the recommendations are so widespread it has become a dilemma for the senior officers to decide whose orders to oblige.
“If they accept an order from an influential for the appointment it might annoy another influential, who recommended another officer for the same post,” the police official said.
In fact, with 20 police stations and an equal number of appointments of an SHO, this practice has resulted in clashes. To avoid this in the future, senior police officers reportedly sat down and demarcated each precinct and the recommendation that should be catered to first for appointment of an SHO.
For instance, they observed that recommendations for SHOs of four police stations – Golra, Tarnol, Shalimar and Margalla – were coming from the top government functionaries.
On the other hand, the areas in the limits of Sihala, Shahzad Town, Nilor, and Banigala are goldmine for the builders and developers, and so they wanted their choices to be posted as SHOs.
Local politicians from Islamabad held a keen eye on the spots in Aabpara, Bhara Kahu and Kohsar, which also houses the Blue Area, the capital’s business centre and is known as the area where 70 per cent cases of cheques dishonoured are registered.
Meanwhile, a certain minister is said to be holding sway on the deputations in the Industrial Area and Sabzi Mandi police stations. Both these areas house factories and vegetable and fruit markets where hundreds of loading truck come every day.
Similarly, the appointment of SHO at Kural police station limits – where narcotics are reportedly sold openly and shelter given to outlaws and land-grabbers in various deras – is under the control of drug dealer “Khan Jee”.
Not to be left behind, it was reported that the security agencies firmly handled the posting in Ramna.
Surprisingly, there was no single party with enough influence for putting their man at the Secretariat police station.
The same trend was seen to continue in the appointments of superintendents of police for the four zones of the city – City, Saddar, Rural and Industrial Area.
After the completion of the exercise within the police department, all the concerned parties, including top government functionaries, politicians, builders and developers and security agencies, were approached and the police stations were distributed among them.
An insider told Dawn that each party was further requested to not interfere in postings at other police stations to avoid clashes, a request everyone agreed on.
Only Loi Bher and Noon police stations were reserved for appointments based on higher internal police department recommendation.
Another police officer, however, insisted: “All SHOs and SPs appointed on the basis of nepotism are being monitored, and there is a desire to only have promotions on merit.”