KHAPLU: The Pakistani interior ministry has barred the governor and the chief minister of the northern Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region from taking police officials with them outside the region, more than a week after a federal minister said GB police were deployed outside Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore to prevent his arrest by their Punjab counterparts.
A team of Islamabad police, backed by their Punjab counterparts, attempted to arrest Khan from his Lahore residence on March 14 following the issuance of his non-bailable arrest warrants by an Islamabad court in a graft case.
A day later, Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said the GB police force had been deployed to “attack” the Punjab police as they tried to arrest Khan in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. The move to arrest Khan had sparked clashes between his supporters and the police, with several injured on both sides.
The Pakistani interior ministry this week issued directives for GB Governor Mehdi Shah and Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid, who hails from Khan’s party, not to take regional police officials for their security to Islamabad or other parts of the country.
“Security arrangements for the Governor and Chief Minister, Gilgit-Baltistan during their visit outside the region, shall be made by the respective provincial/regional governments,” the interior ministry said in a notification on Friday.
“The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan shall not deploy a police force for security purposes outside the Gilgit-Baltistan region.”
Last week, the federal government also replaced GB police chief Muhammad Saeed with Dar Ali Khan Khattak with immediate effect.
GB Sports Minister Raja Nasir Ali Khan said security protocol was the right of every chief minister, adding the ruling coalition only acted in opposition to his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
“We will move the court against this notification,” the provincial minister told Arab News.
But a political analyst said the interior ministry’s notification was according to the “law and customs.”
“An incident happened [in Lahore a few days ago], and this instruction came. The instruction is according to law and customs,” Afzal Ali Shigri, a political analyst and a former IG, told Arab News on Saturday.
“This is a normal practice and the local police are responsible to provide security for VIPs [of other regions]. This should be kept in mind that the function and responsibility [is linked] with jurisdiction. And because their jurisdiction is not outside GB, so this instruction has been issued.”