The Supreme Court of Pakistan has expressed concern over political interference in the Punjab police department, stating that it has been “deliberately” denied training and authority. During the hearing of a case challenging the transfer and posting of police officers, the court stressed the need for police training to improve the criminal justice system. A petition seeking the reinstatement of former Punjab chief secretary Kamran Afzal was dismissed by the top court.
A detailed report was submitted by the authorities in Sindh and Punjab regarding the transfer and postings during the hearing. A Punjab report indicates that no inspector general has served a full year since 2018, and some inspector generals have lasted only a month. Umar Ata Bandial, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, noted that an IG’s tenure is fixed for effective leadership.
The provincial cabinet decided to change the police order in 2017, the Punjab Additional Advocate General informed the court. The IG, however, was unable to provide a briefing on the modification to the police order. The Chief Justice questioned whether the absence of a briefing for the previous six years was due to political obstacles. He believed that the department’s lack of resources and authority resulted from political interference.
According to Justice Athar Minallah, the report submitted by Punjab did not provide any information regarding the reasons for the removal of IGs. He stated that transfers were within the authority of the executive and that the executive was responsible to the people. Specifically, he asked whether any action was taken against anyone if a transfer was made based on performance.
In addition to a lack of funds and training for investigation officers, the Chief Justice stressed the importance of police training for the improvement of the criminal justice system. Former Punjab chief secretary’s reinstatement petition was denied by the court, which ruled that the case was individual in nature and not related to the police investigation. This case has been adjourned until the last week of March by the apex court.