ECP moves SC for transfer of 'partisan' Lahore CCPO for fair elections
'The incumbent officer has inclinations towards a particular political part'
ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has moved the Supreme Court to become a party in a case pertaining to the transfer of Lahore CCPO Ghulam Mehmood Dogar more than two weeks after he was reinstated by the apex court.
An application moved by the electoral body states that reshuffling of “partisan officers” was must for holding free and fair elections.
“It is considered the view of the commission that without reshuffling of such partisan officers, free and fair elections shall not be possible in line with Article 218…and Section 230 of the Elections Act 2017 (functions of the caretaker government),” reads the application which has been submitted under Order II Rule 2 read with Order 33 Rule 6 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980.
“The incumbent officer has inclinations towards a particular political party…the commission has reasons to believe that he will not be able to fulfil its constitutional duties if the officer remains the head of the [Lahore] division during the conduct of the provincial assembly elections in Lahore,” the ECP stressed.
It also said the apex court’s 2012 verdict in the Workers Party case had mandated the ECP to take preemptive steps to ensure holding of elections in fair manners.
The ECP also raised objections to the incumbent officer, saying it was unable to understand why he was insisting on a particular posting since it was the prerogative of the government to make transfer and postings.
The application also explained how the interim government sent a request for the transfer of Ghulam Mehmood Dogar and later the ECP granted the permission. During his appearance before the apex court, Chie Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja had also explained that it was the mandate of the ECP to grant permission for transfers.
On Feb 17, a three-member bench of the top court, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan and comprising Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Muneeb Akhta, reinstating Ghulam Mehmood Dogar as Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO).
The order stated that the written approval for Mr Dogar's transfer had been got from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as Mr Dogar's transfer was in violation of the apex court's verdict dated Dec 2, 2022. Earlier, the court had suspended a notification issued by the Punjab interim government to transfer Mr Dogar.
- BACKGROUND -
The BS-21 officer was at the centre of the feud between the federal and the then Punjab government under Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. The issue of his transfer stemmed in September 2022 when the federal government recalled his services in a surprise move after he booked two PML-N ministers and other officials on terrorism charges. However, the move was blocked by Mr Elahi, then Punjab chief minister, saying the federal government could not transfer him. Later, the PDM-led federal government suspended him in November last for failing to ensure security of the Governor House.
The CCPO challenged his suspension in the Lahore High Court but it declared his petition inadmissible due to limitations of its jurisdiction. He later moved the Federal Services Tribunal (FST) where a single bench reinstated him on Nov 10.
Later, the Establishment Division challenged the FST’s Nov 10 verdict, requesting the bench to roll back the previous decision of the tribunal and form a large bench to hear the case. On Nov 25, a two-member FST bench suspended an earlier decision of reinstating Dogar as CCPO.
The matter was then taken to the apex court which restored him on Dec 2, 2022. Then on Jan 23, the caretaker Punjab government replaced Dogar with Bilal Siddique Kamyana as the new Lahore CCPO.