CPO Rawalpindi transferred, reinstated within hours RAWALPINDI: City Police Officer (CPO) Israr Ahmed Khan Abbasi was transferred and then reinstated within a few hours on Sunday.
The transfer was made after a two-member fact-finding team found the city police guilty of ‘mishandling’ the Aug 24 Bank Al-Falah robbery case in which the bank manager and three ex-army officers associated with a security company were arrested.
The inquiry team, comprising Irfan Elahi and SSP Ali Murtaza, was constituted on the directions of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. After arriving in the city, the team interviewed police officers, including the regional police officer, the CPO, SP Potohar and the station house officer (SHO), Westridge.
According to a senior police official, after interviewing the officers the inquiry team recommended the transfer of CPO Abbasi. In line with the recommendation, the CPO was transferred and he relinquished the charge at about 1pm, sources in the police said.
Transfer order was issued after an inquiry team held police responsible for ‘mishandling’ bank robbery case
Soon after relinquishing the charge, CPO Abbasi in his last wireless message to the police said: “I am thankful to all of you, including SPs and DSPs, for your cooperation during my posting in the city. Now I have relinquished my charge,” said the sources.
When contacted and asked if the CPO was transferred in connection with two recent incidents: the ransacking of the New Town police station by activists of the PML-N youth wing and the arrest of the three ex-army officials along with the Bank Al-Falah bank manager, a senior police officer refused to comment on record.
Hardly a few hours had passed when the transfer order for CPO Abbasi was withdrawn. However, he was cautioned to be careful in handling such cases in future, said the sources.
The reinstatement of the CPO soon after his transfer surprised police officials when Mr Abbasi sent out another message at about 5pm: “I have not relinquished my charge of CPO so far. I am grateful to all of you.”
The three ex-army officials associated with a private security company that provided guards to the bank were arrested on the directions of the provincial authorities under the Punjab Vulnerable Establishment Security Act.
One of the arrested ex-armymen complained to the higher authorities that he was tortured by the police during custody. He said the police also humiliated the three former armymen by handcuffing them. But the police denied the allegations.
Though the entire police hierarchy of the garrison city was blamed for mishandling the case, only the CPO was targeted and transferred.
Some police officials claimed that the case against the bank staff for their negligence and the security company responsible for alerting the emergency alarm system was registered on the directions of the Punjab government to the RPO on August 25. Six robbers looted Rs20 million from the bank’s Chur Chowk branch on Peshawar Road after taking the staff hostage and injuring the two private security guards on August 24.
In addition to the bank robbery, an inquiry into the ransacking of the New Town police station by activists of the PML-N youth wing, led by former MNA Hanif Abbasi, has also entered into a deadlock.
City Traffic Officer Dr Sardar Ghias Gul was appointed as the inquiry officer only to find out the role of the police in ransacking the police station. However, so far none of the attackers has been investigated by the inquiry officer nor an FIR registered against them.