Police, administrative service officers ponder challenging out-of-turn transfer from Sindh
Six Pakistan Administrative Service and Police Service of Pakistan officers who were transferred from Sindh have been mulling over challenging the move in court, SAMAA Digital learnt Monday.
The Establishment Division last week issued a notification, transferring six BPS-20 officers from Sindh to Punjab and the federal government.
“This notification is being issued under Rotation Policy 2020, and as per its para 13, the officer cannot be posted in geographical limits of the government of Sindh for a period of two years, from the date of joining at the station outside the geographical limits of the government of Sindh,” it read.
Last year, provinces reached an understanding that PAS and PSP officers would be rotated from one province to another under the Rotation Policy, 2020.
The BPS-20 officers who were transferred out of Sindh include DIG Munir Ahmad Sheikh, DIG Special Branch Irfan Baloch, DIG Sukkur Fida Hussain Mastoi, DIG Sindh Reserve Police Munir Ahmad Sheikh, DIG Traffic Iqbal Dara and DIG T&T Qamaruz Zaman.
The services of DIG Fida Hussain Mastoi were given to the National Highways and Motorway Police and DIG Irfan Baloch's to the Islamabad Capital Territory. The services of DIG Munir Ahmad Sheikh (senior), DIG Iqbal Dar, DIG Munir Ahmad Sheikh (junior) and DIG Qamaruz Zaman have been placed at the disposal of the Punjab government.
Why these officers are considering approaching court?
These officers told SAMAA Digital that they came to know of their transfers through the media. They had yet to receive any written order from the Establishment Division, they said.
The officers said they were ready to follow the orders of the federal government, but the centre should also "look into their grievances".
As per the policy, they said, the first batch of seven top officers is supposed to be rotated, followed by the next seven after six months.
“Going through the serial numbers, the officers who were transferred stood at 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 13th, 17th and 20th position,” a BPS-20 officer said. "This suggests that the transfers were not made on merit."
The officer said the provincial government appeared to have saved its blue-eyed officers and sacrificed the ones who refused to follow its unjustified orders.
Who chooses officers for transfers?
Sindh government officials told SAMAA Digital that the Establishment Division wrote a letter to the Sindh chief secretary, requesting him to relieve the first batch of police officers for posting out of Sindh.
“The chief secretary discussed the matter with Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and the latter refused it,” the officials said.
“CM Shah told the chief secretary that there is shortage of police officers in the province and if the Establishment Division was willing to take back services of police officers on Rotation Policy then [it should] overcome the shortage before transfer of police officers.”
The Establishment Division then contacted the Sindh Services General Administration and Coordination Department and picked up six officers. Later, it issued a notification of their transfer.
Can the Sindh government stop transfers?
After the Establishment Division issued the notification, Sindh Information Minister Nasir Shah said the centre had employed some clever tactics. Shah warned that if the law and order situation deteriorated in Sindh, the federal government would be held responsible for it.
The answer to the question if the Sindh government could block these transfers is no. All PAS and PSP officers fall under the domain of the federal government and the centre can take back the services of any officer.
"Once an officer has been compulsorily rotated, under this policy, and posted to a particular government, then: male officer shall not return to the government of his previous ten-year posting before completing two years at stations of his posting situated outside of the geographical limits of government of his ten-year posting," the Rotation Policy says.
"Female officer shall not return to the government of her previous ten-year posting before completing one year at stations of her posting situated outside of the geographical limits of government of her ten-year posting.
"Officers who have served continuously for 10 years or more in any of the governments shall be transferred to other governments in three phases spanning over six months each," it says.
The transfers will start with officers who have the "longest tenures in a government," the policy says.