Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi to Spearhead Islamabad’s Development

Shahbaz Sharif

By Hassan Shah

ISLAMABAD, MAR 18: Islamabad is centre of government as well as a thriving city. Lost in political cacophony is often its second dimension.

The swearing in of the new cabinet is doubly important for the federal capital being a city for two reasons. First, it gets Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi in one rare combination. Both these ministers have a reputation for delivering results and taking mega projects to their logical conclusions in record time.

After the recent verdict of Islamabad High Court that Islamabad’s affairs will be run in consultation with the federal cabinet, the city has broken free from the rule of powerful bureaucrats. For a long time before that decision, the city had been having chief commissioners who were also heading the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Centrality of powers of administration, law and order, planning and development and execution in one person had overstretched even the noblest of them and they had grown into kind of viceroys of the city.

After the prime minister, the federal capital falls largely in the jurisdiction of the interior minister. If we look at the 400 days of Mohsin Naqvi’s era as caretaker chief minister of Punjab, we can easily conclude that infrastructure and law and order had remained his top priority. Hence, it can be understood that he would carry his legacy forward on to Islamabad as well.

Second element of importance for the federal capital is that with his legacy will also come his tested and trusted actors from Punjab bureaucracy. The incumbent chief commissioner, Capt (r) Anwarul Haq has been extensively engaged in developing the city’s new master plan.

It is a mega initiative taken up by his predecessor Amer Ahmed Ali. Ali was the real brain who turned around the city and took it out of financial crunch. He generated resources and introduced surplus budget for then cash-starved CDA.

It is hoped that Minister Naqvi will tap into Ali’s expertise and experience reshaping the city for betterment. Also, the city has a very successful inspector general of police in the person of Akbar Nasir Khan. His three-year tenure is coming to close and he is among the lucky IGs who have completed this tenure. (He took over office in 2022)

It is possible only after at least three years to judge performance of any police chief but successive governments had made this office an arena for the fight among political heavyweights.

In his three years, Khan had ridden the city of containers, thwarted mobs upon mobs of rioters, brought ‘qabza’ mafia dons to their knees, cut down crime rate and above all developed a police team to effectively communicate on social media to counter mis- and disinformation. Little known, however, is the fact that he is an accomplished poet and the prime minister has a bigger role for him to play in the days to come.

Ahsan Younas is seemingly his logical replacement as he knows how to make team and put it to work. He had been Islamabad IG in the past and the changes he has brought to Punjab police are meaningful. As a token of acknowledgement of his services, he has recently been honoured with World Police Summit Award 2024 for Excellence in Customer (Citizen) Service for establishing Police Khidmat Markaz which has served 22 million citizens so far. Minister Naqvi had given him full support for establishing these Khidmat Marakis and it seems that he will trust Younas for the office of Islamabad police chief.