The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ruled that there was ‘no merit’ in the Sindh government’s appeals against a Sindh High Court (SHC) verdict that had granted Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja complete autonomy over his police department.
Chaired by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, a three-member bench of the apex court heard the Sindh government’s appeals at its Lahore registry.
In July 2017, the Sindh government had taken away the inspector general of police’s powers to transfer and post senior SP and SSP-ranked officers. The move was seen as the fallout of an ongoing tussle between the PPP-led set-up and Khowaja.
In September of the same year, the SHC had restored Khowaja’s powers of transfers and postings within the police department, bringing to an end the legal wrangling between civil rights campaigners and the Sindh government over the IGP’s office.
A month later, the provincial government, represented by their counsel Farooq H. Naek, had challenged the SHC ruling in the apex court, maintaining that the services of an IGP are offered to the province on the will of the provincial governments.
The appeal further said that the provincial cabinet of Sindh had decided to change the IGP but the SHC had ruled that Khowaja will continue to function as the provincial police chief.
The SC, in its verdict on Thursday, rejected the Sindh government’s appeals, adding: “For the reasons to be recorded later, these appeals having no merit are accordingly dismissed.”
The SC also said that the Sindh government is entitled to legislate on the matter as long as its laws are in line with the SHC verdict, which grants the IGP autonomy over his department.
“The province of Sindh shall be entitled to make new laws conforming with the modern needs and also keeping in view the observations made in the impugned judgement.”