ISLAMABAD         -        The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday directed the federal and Punjab governments to submit replies in two weeks regarding political interference in the transfer of police officials. A three-member SC bench comprising Chief Justice umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ayesha A Malik and Justice Athar Minallah heard the case regarding political intrusion in the transfers and postings of police personnel in the Punjab province. During the course of proceedings, the court expanded the scope of the case to the federation and other provinces at the request of the petitioner. The bench directed the federation and provinces to submit records of transfer postings in the police department over the past eight years in two weeks. The petitioner’s counsel said that transfers of police officers were due to political interference and influence, which was a matter of public importance and fundamental rights. The Chief Justice said that the continuous transfer of police officers made a difference to police command and performance. he said that recently, the district police officer (DPO) of Layyah was transferred from the chief minister’s house due to the interference of local politicians, and the event made headlines.The Chief Justice said that he had not seen the headlines pertaining to this matter. The petitioner’s counsel said that the DPO eventually dropped charges, despite the police’s initial resistance to the transfer. he also read out data provided by the lawyer and stated that according to the data, the average term of DPO in Punjab was five months, and at least 268 DPOs were exchanged in Punjab in four years. Justice Ayesha asked where the data was obtained from. The lawyer replied that the data was obtained from the commissioner of police office. Justice Athar Minallah said that political changes in the police made a difference to the performance of the criminal justice system. The counsel said that the average term of an inspector general (IG) of police in Punjab was six months instead of three years as per law. He said that police officers were changed in Punjab without reason in the past four years. The Chief Justice said that according to the petitioner’s lawyer, the matter was not limited to Punjab. Chief Justice Bandial observed that the former IG of Islamabad was a well-educated and decent officer, who handled the case of the attack on Sindh house very well. however, he was also changed, he added. he said that the transfer of police officers without reason affected the criminal justice system’s performance. There was a tendency among officers to get higher positions through political influence in these situations, he added. He said that the petitioner’s lawyer had stated that the scope of the matter should be extended to the federation and other provinces. Subsequently, the SC ordered the federal government and provinces to submit replies to the court within two weeks and adjourned the hearing for two weeks.