Lahore`s top cop removed over attacks on Christians

The top police official has been removed from his post for failing to prevent an attack on a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore.

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2013, 19:30 PM IST

Lahore: The top police official here has been removed from his post for failing to prevent an attack on a Christian neighbourhood in this eastern Pakistani city while 15 more suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Lahore police chief Amjad Javed Saleemi was removed from his post by the PML-N government in Punjab province, officials said on Friday.

Regional Police Officer Muhammad Amlish of Sargodha district replaced Saleemi.

The PML-N had been facing embarrassment in the Supreme Court, which held the Punjab government and Lahore police responsible for failing to prevent the attack on Joseph Colony on March 09.

The neighbourhood was attacked by a mob of over 3,000 days after a Christian man was accused of blasphemy.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who took suo motu notice of the incident, has questioned why the provincial government and police were unable to prevent the attack despite knowing that the accusation of blasphemy had caused tension in the area.

Though no one was injured in the attack, the mob burnt some 175 houses of Christians and two small churches.

Police claimed they had arrested 15 more suspects, taking the total number of people detained to 165.

Police have sought the help of the National Database and Registration Authority to identify other suspects.

Prime suspect Imran Shahid, who had accused Savan Masih, a Christian sanitation worker, of blasphemy, is untraceable, officials said.

Shahid and Masih were involved in an illegal liquor business.

Following a quarrel, Shahid accused the Christian of blasphemy.

As tension mounted in Joseph Colony last weekend, Christian families vacated their homes on the advice of police.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had removed Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Sohail Akhtar Sukhera and SP (Operations) Multan Khan from active duty and suspended two other police officers.

Saleemi was unceremoniously removed from a field posting for the third time.

Earlier, he was removed as the police chief of Sialkot district slot in connection with the killings of some judges and prisoners in 2003.

He was also removed from the post of DIG (Operations) for Lahore after a terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009.