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KARACHI: The Karachi police on Tuesday dismissed four policemen from service for harassing and manhandling a couple at Seaview when they refused to pay extortion to the men in uniform.

Speaking at a press conference at his office, SSP South Pir Mohammed Shah said that the four policemen were dismissed after initial investigations into a video that went viral, showing them manhandling a woman at Seaview and also thrashing her husband who was trying to record their action with his mobile phone.

He said that Assistant Sub-Inspector Zulfiqar Ali and constables Ahmed Khan, Zahid and Qurban were sacked.

“The incident actually took place on Sunday morning and three policemen were directly involved in the incident, bringing a bad name to the entire force,” he said. “ASI Zulfiqar Ali left his duty and came to Seaview. We have zero-tolerance policy when it comes to harassment [involving] personnel of the law-enforcement agency.”

A video went viral on social media and was then aired by TV channels showing a policeman in uniform manhandling a woman and trying to snatch the mobile phone of a man who was making the video.

“I was standing with my wife when they [policemen] came and demanded money while pointing guns [at us],” the man said in the video.

Later, it emerged that there were total four policemen and one of them was in civvies. They were patrolling on private motorbikes and spotting couples.

The SSP said: “Initial investigation reveals that the four policemen used to work as a gang to harass and extort couples.

“We appeal to the people who faced such unfortunate behaviour by the police to come forward and report their ordeal. We assure them that strict action would be taken against those involved. It’s not the first time that the Karachi police have taken stern action against its officials since four personnel of the Police Qaumi Razakars (PQR) force were earlier arrested and punished for extorting money from couples at Seaview.”

14 held across city

Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, claimed to have arrested 14 suspects during raids in various parts of the city.

A statement issued by the paramilitary force said that the suspects were arrested during raids in Model Colony, Sharif Goth, Quaidabad, Landhi and Mehmoodabad.

“The suspects arrested included Azfar Shaikh, Kashif, Aqib, Ali, Raja, Imad Hassan, Nasir, Junaid Wali Siddiqui, Babar Masih, Robison, Harry, Yashwa alias Lal, Salman and Hashir,” it said. “The arrested suspects were involved in various cases of robberies and street crimes.”

It said that the Rangers personnel also recovered arms and ammunition from their possession.

The suspects were later handed over to police for further legal proceedings, it added.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2019