Khanewal Saddar station house officer was suspended on Thursday on orders of District Police Officer Waqar Mahboob following complaints about rising crime rate in his area.
SHO Muzaffar Shah had allegedly failed to take prompt action in a car snatching incident in Chak 173/LR on Wednesday.
Four robbery suspects who were later caught and brutally beaten up by villagers in Chak 169/10-R were rescued by a police team led by Kuhna SHO Chaudhry Abdul Kareem.
The suspects were caught on entering Chak 169/10-R by villagers who had been alerted about the incident by those chasing them from Chak 173/LR.
The suspects had been doused with petrol by the mob who had wanted to set them on fire when the police team arrived and took them into custody.
They were later taken to district headquarters (DHQ) hospital where two of them, Riaz and Nasir, are still under treatment. DHQ hospital medical superintendent Rao Ashraf told The Express Tribune that their injuries were severe.
He said they would likely need treatment for another couple of days.
The other two, Azhar and Shameem, were discharged after first aid and sent to Saddar police station on Wednesday night. An FIR has been registered against the men under Section 392 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Talking to The Tribune at the hospital, the suspects said they had arrived in Chak 173/LR of Khanewal where they snatched the car after robbing a house in Multan in the morning. They said they had planned to flee to some sparsely populated village but were caught by villagers in Chak 169/10-R.
Several villagers who had caught the suspects told The Tribune robberies were a routine in the area.
They accused the police of colluding with the suspects and said that no action had been to control crime in the area despite several complaints. They alleged that criminal gangs in Multan and its surrounding areas were supported by influential people. The police, they said, were ‘directed’ to ignore these gangs.
At least six villagers were injured in the chase being hit by the stolen car the suspects were fleeing in. They were given treatment at a rural health centre. One of the injured, a five-year-old girl, had suffered a fracture in her left leg. Some villagers also reported that the suspects had fired at the mob.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2012.