Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Faisal Shahkar on Sunday requested the federal government to withdraw his services from the provincial government, citing “personal reasons” for not being able to continue his current assignment.
In a brief letter, Shahkhar added that his services should be placed at the disposal of the federal government. He was appointed to the post in July by then-newly appointed Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi, replacing Rao Muhammad Sardar.
Prior to Shahkar’s letter, the Punjab Police had issued a statement condemning “insulting” remarks from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi during a public rally on Saturday night. “Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s insulting of thousands of martyred Punjab policemen by demeaning the police uniform is highly regrettable,” it said, adding that the police sympathized with all the injured and deceased of the Wazirabad shooting on the PTI’s long march.
“There can be no criticism about the extreme care exercised by local police due to the sensitivity of this incident,” it said. “The police is performing its duties without any care for any number of pressures,” it said, and urged the Punjab government—of which the PTI is a part—to take notice of the “insulting” of the police uniform.
On Saturday, Qureshi had addressed the IGP during a rally, saying if “you cannot gather the courage to lodge the FIR … then I curse your uniform.”
According to local media, the incident has exposed the fault-lines within the coalition Punjab government of the PTI and PMLQ. Reportedly, Shahkhar met Chief Minister Elahi prior to requesting his transfer and lamented the persistent “political interference” in the operations of police, as well as the “unjustified” criticism of the PTI’s leadership.
“The Punjab police have completely been politicized due to frequent interference by the current political setup in Punjab,” the IGP told daily Dawn. “This was not acceptable at any cost for me as provincial police chief and I thought it better to refuse to work in the current circumstances,” he added.