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SAHIWAL: Chief Minister Sahabaz Sharif lashed out at police for showing inefficiency and negligence in handling a rape case investigation and warned the Punjab police inspector general and the Sahiwal regional police officer of suspension if the fourth suspect was not arrested within 48 hours.

He also suspended four policemen, including a station house officer (SHO) and a deputy superintendent (DSP), on Tuesday during a visit to the house of the girl allegedly raped by four men of the same village (81/5-R) about a month ago.

“The IG and the RPO will also be suspended if culprits are not arrested in 48 hours,” Shahbaz told the girl’s mother.

He was accompanied by IG Khan Baig and the other officers concerned.

Later, talking to the media, the chief minister blasted Punjab police, drawing a comparison between the present state of department and what it used to be under the British Raj.

He said under the Raj, the police officers would reach the crime scene despite poor means of transportation and communication and would investigate crime from multiple aspects, detect criminals and arrest them.

“Police today have all the (modern) electronic gadgets and fast mobility but they fail to detect and arrest criminals,” the chief minister lamented.

He said it was sad that the girl was raped more than 30 days ago, a footage of the crime was made and circulated in the village through mobile phones, but the police did not have any information of the incident.

“This strongly indicates the police’s poor spying system for detecting crimes both in urban and rural localities,” he added.

The chief minister asked local police officials why the rape compliant remained unattended and why, despite passage of 30 days, not all the suspects were arrested who were residents of the same village.

“Our police system had gone dysfunctional,” he told the media. “We had no clue to the crime’s breeding grounds and criminals’ hideouts,” he said, adding that the police must know the spots where crime bred and flourished.

Earlier, the CM arrived here on a chopper and went straight to the raped girl’s house. He assured her family that the culprits would be brought to justice.

The CM called the relevant officers before the girl’s family and scolded them. “I have suspended DSP, SHO, investigation officers and other relevant police officials and have ordered action against the culprits,” he told the girl’s mother.

The suspended officer include DSP Rana Aslem, Fateh Sher former SHO Imdad Baloch, the present one Jawad Fazal and IO ASI Jaffar.

DPO Khurram Ali told the chief minister that out of four nominated suspects, three had been arrested.

According to sources, the three main suspects had confessed to the crime. The CM also ordered posting of two lady constables at the girl’s house for the protection of the family.

Commissioner Muhammad Sadiq, RPO Faisal Shahkar, DCO Sajid Mahmood Chohan, PML-N MPA Arshad Malik and party activists.

The CM also visited a village school and met students, before he flew back to Lahore.