Islamabad IG allegedly removed over 'failure to use force against protesters'

Published: August 21, 2014
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Police officers stand guard as protesters march towards Parliament House. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS

Police officers stand guard as protesters march towards Parliament House. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry allegedly removed on Thursday Islamabad Inspector General (IG) Aftab Cheema from his post over his failure to use force against PTI, PAT supporters, who are currently staging a sit-in in Islamabad. 

In a mysterious turn of events, DIG Headquarters Khalid Khattak was appointed as acting IG Islamabad after Cheema’s application for ‘leave’ was accepted by the interior ministry.

According to sources, the relationship between Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and Cheema had been strained for a while, specifically after the Islamabad police chief ‘failed’ to control Sikhs, who had stormed through the gates of Parliament House in May this year to protest the alleged desecration of their holy books in Sindh.

However, the major sticking point between the interior minister and Cheema was allegedly over the latter’s refusal to use force against the protesters unless the government provided a written request to him to do so.

Further, Cheema, it seems, had a tendency to apply for leave whenever the PTI held a rally in Islamabad, according to sources. The former IG Islamabad sought leave when the PTI staged a protest on Jinnah Avenue in May this year and then also applied for leave when the party announced its long march in June this year. However, the interior ministry refused to accept his leave application.

According to sources in Islamabad police, the interior minister was displeased with Cheema’s reaction when Qadri ordered his supporters to surround Parliament. The police inaction is said to have infuriated the interior minister.

The source added that the interior minister reportedly also exchanged harsh words with Cheema on Wednesday after police personnel complained that they had been putting in long shifts, sometimes punching in 18 hours due to the protests. The minister ordered Cheema to divide their duties in three eight-hour shifts.

Meanwhile, PTI’s leadership also claimed that Cheema was dismissed because of his refusal to baton-charge PTI protesters, who are currently staging a sit-in outside Parliament House in Islamabad. PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Express News that Cheema was ‘told to crackdown on PTI workers’ and that he refused.

PTI chairman Imran Khan made similar claims in a speech a few hours later. He also issued a stern warning towards the new, incoming IG, warning him against using violence. “If you use violence against a single one of my workers, I will hunt you down and find you,” he said.

Meanwhile, the interior ministry has dismissed these claims. A spokesperson said that Cheema is merely on leave, and that his dismissal has nothing to do with the ongoing protests.

Addressing his supporters, Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri also alleged earlier on Thursday that Cheema was dismissed for refusing to fire upon Qadri’s workers.

The government maintains that all law enforcement officials are under strict orders not to use violence against the protesters.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Aug 21, 2014 - 6:13PM

    The IG was right to request written orders in order to avoid later confusion. The written orders would have transferred responsibility for the consequences to the Home Ministry. Why the Home Ministry did not wish to take responsibility will remain a matter for speculation. Be that as it may, the IG was right.

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  • Chengez K
    Aug 21, 2014 - 6:18PM

    Long Live Aftab Cheema……he acted as a true government servant as per the direction of Quaid i Azam…”Do not follow illegal orders”

    The next police Chief Khattak should be aware that 200 million Pakistani are watching his conduct….he must not act as a ANP tout

    Time for Change has arrived

    Long Live Pakistan

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  • Shabir
    Aug 21, 2014 - 6:28PM

    PML-N can’t bear people who take stands on principles. They removed Tariq Malik and now Aftaab Cheema

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  • aaaaa
    Aug 21, 2014 - 6:32PM

    So this whole article is based on an “allegedly”? Are you serious? ET continues its fall into tabloid status.

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  • Kaleem
    Aug 21, 2014 - 6:35PM

    Right, so as per the analysis, former IG applied for leave for May 11 rally, ordered his men for 18 hours long duty, applied leave on crucial gatherings where police performs basic function, didn’t do much when parliament was covered by mobs yesterday. What else do you require to sack him? Please sack him for heavens sake.

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  • just_someone
    Aug 21, 2014 - 6:36PM

    Although I didnt like the storming of the Red Zone, IK has the right to protest given a Pakistani’s constitutional right to freedom of speech.
    In the same vein, the IG has the right to demand any verbal orders on paper for official purposes. In fact, no orders should be given without written notification.
    The IG did the correct thing. If tomorrow something negative would happen, he would be thrown under teh bus like many others.
    Im sure the IG is more than happy to be unemployed than to be jailed…

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  • Jibran
    Aug 21, 2014 - 6:47PM

    PMLN runs the country like a kingdom. No wonder, Nawaz Sharif has great admiration for his political daddy Zia-ul-Haq, and religious daddy the King of Saud.

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  • bash gul
    Aug 21, 2014 - 6:53PM

    The government wants Gullu Butt type police officers. Just see how the government washes itself of any responsibility by not giving written orders. Shahbaz Sharif has stained his hands by the blood of 14 martyrs.Recommend

  • Karachi Wally
    Aug 21, 2014 - 7:07PM

    Seems that the time is ripe now for natural justice to come, after Model Town, PMLN should be more cautious and not to repeat JallianWala Bagh in Islamabad.

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  • Aug 21, 2014 - 7:22PM

    Nothing new. Every one knows the Sharif Brothers are thugs.
    And their cabal consisting of these vociferous ones like Saad
    Khawaja, Mash…etc. etc. No questions about it. No doubts.
    Now, everyone knows. Absolutely must have fixed the elections.
    Nawaz did not win a “democratic” election

    Recommend

  • Sher Khan
    Aug 21, 2014 - 7:26PM

    Mr. Sharif, you have done economic treason to Pakistan, by having more assets in England, Saudi and Dubai than in your own country Pakistan. That is good enough to throw you out of the country

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  • Waseem
    Aug 21, 2014 - 7:29PM

    In this country Aftab Cheema is real hero , who respect the people s right.

    A great applaud and salute to Aftab Cheema… Thans u IG .Pak love u!

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  • Syed
    Aug 21, 2014 - 7:35PM

    He is on true path, thats why he was suspended!
    The Indian RSS party workers did a big protest in front of Pakistani embassy in favour of Nawaz Government in India, against the Imran Khan (PTI Leader) & Tahir ul Qadri (PAT Leader) , called them traders of democracy!

    The RSS, Current Indian Government, & American Government support the Nawaz Criminal Government!

    Since from when, the India & Americans are the true sincere friends of Pakistan???

    Recommend

  • YP Mississauga
    Aug 21, 2014 - 7:50PM

    PML(N) and PPP has made all bureaucrats subservient to them and anyone who refuses their policies are booted out. This is no democracy. These rulers uses democracy to rule the people of this country. This democracy benefits rulers and not the people.

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  • Naeem Khan Manhattan,Ks
    Aug 21, 2014 - 8:11PM

    “A spokesperson said that Cheema is merely on leave, and that his dismissal has nothing to do with the ongoing protests.” Do they really think that Pakistani people are so stupid not to see or understand what is going in Islamabad. Sharif brothers got away for time being for killing 14 unarmed political activists and injuring 90 in Model Town Lahore, so they thought they could replay that massacre in Islamabad. Nazis put forth their defense that they were ordered to do those heinous crimes, this kind of defense did not work in Nuremberg trials and it will not work in Islamabad. The ruling government ( NS and SS) is and will be directly responsible for violence against peaceful protesters, and Shahbaz Sharif should be prosecuted for the mayhem he caused in Model Town Lahore. These are the same brothers who are the product of dictator Zia and they lack the understanding of principles of democracy. The Sham Democracy in Pakistan has come to the surface now and these brothers can not and will not be able to take refuge and sustain themselves by killing peaceful protesters in Islamabad, I suggest peaceful political solutions should be in order to defuse these crises. I suppose old habits seldom go away, if things don’t go their way then they are ready to use violence, they have done it before, any one remembers when their goons attacked the Supreme Court of Pakistan where the justices has to take shelter to save their lives. (IF) THEY HAVE DONE CHEATING AT THE BALLOT BOX, THEN THEIR GOVERNMENT IS NOT LEGITIMATE TO START WITH AND THEY SHOULD RESIGN. It seems that now the Americans are interfering again in the internal affairs of Pakistan on their behalf because Sharifs obliged them by going into North Waziristan. Less said about the despicable Saudi Monarchy the better.

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  • NotAntiUS
    Aug 21, 2014 - 8:22PM

    Civil Dictatorship of the Goons! Go Nawaz and Never come back.

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  • Pakistani
    Aug 21, 2014 - 8:49PM

    Nawaz sharif and shahbaz sharif’s names are in the FIR of model town massacre and they must be tried just like any common man or are we going to forgot the ppl killed in the greatest tragedy of Pakistan.I think Dr Qadri is right this shows there are definitely double standards in Pakistan’s institutions.

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  • Shahid
    Aug 21, 2014 - 9:21PM

    Army should side towards pakistan Not as touts of illegitimate govt otherwise people will fight army also.The Army of Shah of iran was much powerfull than the pakistani army.nothing can stand in front of people.

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  • Stand for Justice
    Aug 22, 2014 - 12:29AM

    GO NAWAZ GO!Recommend

  • Stand for Justice
    Aug 22, 2014 - 12:43AM

    Go Nawaz GO! C’mon people – lets show our national spirit to fight this corrupt leader and his supporters in the national assembly!
    Think about it..we are becoming a failed state because of the current MNAs/MPAs and those same people are supporting Nawaz..PLEASE STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHT!

    If you agree, please recommend this comment! lets stand with IK..this is our only chance to show that we are a nation..If IK fails, no one will have the courage to stand again!

    Recommend

  • Alleged
    Aug 22, 2014 - 4:31AM

    Alleged …. so what’s factual?

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  • Pakistani
    Aug 22, 2014 - 6:32AM

    This is what you call democracy? The democracy was already eradicated from Pakistan when Model Town tragedy.took place. This is called autocracy, not democracy.

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