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LAHORE: While removing five senior police officers from service for allegedly showing negligence with regards to handling of the Minar-e-Pakistan incident on Independence Day, the Punjab police have so far rounded up over 20 suspects who allegedly harassed and assaulted a female TikToker and her companions, said Punjab government Spokesperson and provincial Prisons Minister Fayaz-ul-Hassan Chohan.

"The most important thing is that both the civil and military (intelligence) agencies are working with each other on this case and so far over 20 "evil-nature" suspects have been taken into custody," the minister said in a video message shared with the media on Friday.

He said Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar while taking notice of the incident had called a meeting to look into the alleged negligence on the part of police personnel and Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) staff, who are responsible for the affairs of Greater Iqbal Park.

During the meeting held here on Friday, the minister said that CM Usman Buzdar while expressing his anger over manhandling of the woman directed the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP), Inam Ghani, to remove all police officers who showed negligence in performing their duties.

Later, the IGP issued a notification and suspended Badami Bagh Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Usman Haider and Lorry Adda Station House Officer (SHO) Muhammad Jamil and directed them to report to the Central Police Office (CPO) with immediate effect.

The IG also removed DIG Operations Sajid Kiyani, SSP Operations Syed Nadeem Abbas and ASP Operations Hassan Jahangir from their posts.

"Strict departmental action will be taken once the enquiry committee submits its detailed report on the role and response of other officers," the IG tweeted.

According to sources, the Punjab police have decided to approach the federal government, particularly, the Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) seeking strict departmental inquiries against the senior police officers for their alleged negligence.

The sources said the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) with the help of National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has so far been able to identify nearly 10 persons, who have been arrested.

"Since the Minar-e-Pakistan incident caught the attention of the authorities, law enforcers picked up more than 100 suspects for questioning but digital data of merely 10 persons matched with that of available to Nadra," the sources said.

The sources further said that police officers also completed the medical examination of the assault survivor at Nawaz Sharif Teaching Hospital. According to the report, the neck and right hand of the woman were found swollen and she had scars on her back and both feet as well.

Meanwhile, Federal Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari took to twitter and said that so far 24 men have been arrested in connection with the "condemnable" incident. She said that arrests were made after the suspects were identified through geo-fencing and going through NADRA's data.

While announcing that more arrests were expected, Mazari said that a police inquiry headed by an additional IG rank officer was under way to determine negligence on the part of law enforcers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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