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Wednesday Feb 12 2020

SHC sends notices to PPP MPAs over plea to probe SSP Shikarpur's claims

Provincial ministers Imtiaz Sheikh (L) and Saeed Ghani. Photo: file

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday issued notices to the provincial advocate general and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPAs Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh and Saeed Ghani on a petition seeking the constitution of a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe into a senior police officer’s accusations of the ruling party members harbouring criminals in Shikarpur and Mehmoodabad, reported The News. 

The plea filed by Syed Iqbal Kazmi stated Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shikarpur Dr Rizwan Ahmed sent a report to the provincial police chief with regard to the alleged connection of MPA Sheikh and his family and employees with dacoits and other criminals. The report accused them of harbouring criminals of the area who were involved in heinous crimes.

Related: Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh runs crime wing, influences police hiring: report

Kazmi claimed that the PPP MPA was using his criminal wings against his political opponents to create fear. He added that during his posting in Jamshed Town area, SSP Ahmed had also sent a report to his high-ups claiming that Ghani and his brother Farhan Ghani had links with criminal elements and drug smugglers of the area.

The court was requested to constitute a JIT to investigate the allegations and disqualify them as parliament members.

After hearing the petitioner, the SHC bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar issued notices to the MPAs, the police officer and others to file their comments on March 18.

SSP Ahmed in his report had said police officers were appointed using the minister's influence who leaked the information about the police’s operational strategy against the criminals, according to The News.

The report underlined that as a result of sensitive information being leaked out, many police operations against criminals failed. The report had also claimed that MPA Shaikh remained in contact with the criminals of Katcha through different numbers. It added the police had evidence and recordings of phone calls made to criminals. In one of the phone calls, the minister contacted the most-wanted criminal Atto Shaikh.

The SSP had further revealed that criminals were provided asylum at the hotel, petrol pumps, guest house and Shaikh's own farmhouse.

Furthermore, SSP Ahmed alleged, Shaikh was operating a criminal wing to victimize his political opponents and used it attack the polio team to prove that the Shikarpur Police was unable to control the law and order situation. He also accused Imtiaz Shaikh of plotting the murder of the son of his political opponent Shah Nawaz Brohi.

SSP Rizwan's transfer declared illegal

Amid all the controversy regarding the lawmakers' involvement, the provincial government's move to transfer the police officer was declared illegal by the Sindh High Court (SHC).

Hearing a petition by activist Jibran Nasir regarding the transfer of the police official, the SHC ruled that the Sindh government violated Article 17 of the Sindh Police Act. 

The court added that a police officer cannot be transferred without consulting the Sindh Inspector General.

Originally published in The News