Heads to roll over Peshawar suicide attack

PESHAWAR: Caretaker Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan has formally asked the federal government to change the provincial chief secretary and police chief, Heads to roll over Peshawar suicide attackinsisting the two have failed to take necessary measures to stop the Tuesday night suicide attack in the capital city.

The blast had killed ANP provincial leader and election candidate Barrister Haroon Bilour and 19 others and injured scores in a corner meeting.

Immediately after the incident, retired Justice Dost chaired a huddle of top officials at the chief minister, which lasted around three hours.

CM asks centre to change chief secretary, police chief over security lapse

In the meeting, where security situation of the province was discussed, the chief minister expressed annoyance at the province’s top bureaucracy.

The documents available with Dawn showed that the chief minister wanted to repatriate chief secretary Kamran Naveed Balouch, police chief Mohammad Tahir, home secretary Ikramullah Khan, and Peshawar division commissioner Shahab Ali Shah, before filling those positions with his handpicked men.

They showed that the chief minister favoured Ahmad Hanif Orakzai for the chief secretary’s post, Dr Mohammad Naeem Khan for IG’s, environment secretary Zakir Hussain Afridi for home secretary’s, and principal secretary to the chief minister Akbar Khan for the additional charge of Peshawar commissioner.

However, sources claimed that the chief minister’s resentment with bureaucracy was more to do with the officers not heeding his wishes in the recent transfers and postings than the security lapse.

They said the chief minister wanted to appoint some of his favourites to key posts but bureaucracy blocked it apparently annoying him.

The sources claimed that the chief minister even ‘overruled’ the usual protocol, which asked the federal government to share three names with the provincial government for key postings for choice.

They claimed that the move showed the chief minister’s tilt towards a political party and that he wanted to oblige it when elections were just two weeks away.

The sources wondered whether the new bureaucratic setup would be made a scapegoat in case of any untoward incident.

A Chief Minister House letter written to the Establishment Division, a copy of which is available with Dawn, said following the blast, Justice Dost tried to contact chief secretary Kamran Naveed Baloch but to no avail.

It added that the chief secretary was told to immediately contact the chief minister in the view of emergency.

The letter said the chief secretary hadn’t submitted a ‘single day report’ to the chief minister in all important matters and tasks assigned to him.

“In view of prior consultation with the prime minister’s office and Election Commission of Pakistan, it has been decided to dispense with the chief secretary’s services.

He should report to the Establishment Division immediately. The Establishment Division should immediately place the services of Ahmad Hanif Orakzai at the disposal of the province as chief secretary. It should be notified immediately. Any delay of even a single hour in this matter may lead to serious consequences,” it said.

Regarding provincial police chief Mohammad Tahir, the letter made similar observations saying he’d failed to take necessary action on terror alerts.

It noted that in view of consultation with the premier’s office and ECP, Mr Tahir should be immediately repatriated to the Establishment Division, while Dr Mohammad Naeem Khan should be appointed the IG KP immediately,” it said.

Regarding commissioner of Peshawar division Shahab Ali Shah and home secretary Ikramullah Khan, the chief minister declared them ‘unwilling workers’ and insisted the home secretary had failed to provide coordination among government agencies.

When contacted, caretaker information minister Zafar Iqbal Bangash said nothing of the sort had been on paper so far.

“It may be a fact but it has not yet to be on paper,” he said.

He, however, confirmed that the chief minister was unhappy with the government officers. “This issue was taken up in the early Wednesday meeting. Retired Justice Dost Mohammad told the officials that since July 5, he had been telling them to follow security SOPs but they didn’t follow his orders, which resulted into the loss of many lives,” he said.

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