ISLAMABAD, July 20: The government on Wednesday removed three top officers of the capital police following an outcry over the police raids on four madressahs, including one for girls at Lal Masjid, in Aabpara, previous night. A police source said the high-ups were also unhappy over the poor law and order situation, and rising crimes rate in Islamabad.

A police source told Dawn that the Inspector-General of Police, Talat Mehmood Tariq, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Liaquat Ali Khan and Superintendent of Police (SP) Dr Azam Taimoori had been ordered to report to the Establishment Division.

IGP Mahmood had been made officer on special duty (OSD) in the division while the fate of the other two officers were not immediately known.

Former DIG, Rawalpindi, Iftikhar Ahmed, has been appointed the new IGP and SSP Inam Ghani of Diplomatic Protection Department the SSP. SP President House Zubair Hashmi has been given the additional charge of SP Headquarters.

SSP Khan and SP Taimoori had led the crackdown on the madressahs in search for religious extremists.

The raid on the Jamia Hafsa, a seminary for girls, at Lal Masjid in Aabpara area, provoked a clash in which police used batons and tear gas shells, causing injuries to some 35 girl students.

“One pregnant teacher of the madressah was bleeding when brought to hospital,” a hospital source said.

SHO and ASP of the Aabpara Police Station were likely to meet the same fate as their superiors, according to the source.

SSP Khan had taken his office in Islamabad after the NWFP government ‘surrendered’ him to the federal government in April 2004. He had earned the displeasure of higher authorities over the suicide bombing of the Bari Imam shrine in May this year, the police source revealed.

Nearly 35 female students, injured by tear-gas shelling and baton charge, were treated in the Federal Government Services Hospital, while one dozen injured women were treated at the Pims hospital last night, the hospital authorities said.

15 BOOKED UNDER MPO: The police have booked 15 persons, captured during previous night crackdown on seminaries, under 3 MPO (Maintenance of Public Order), police sources said.

Those booked under the 3 MPO are: Nasir Abbas, Zafar Iqbal, Qario Ayaz Abbasi, Qari Suhail Abbasi, Ziaul Haq, Qari Javed, Ahmed Kiani, Naeem Mughal, Ibrahim Haider, Nazar Abbas, Raja Mohammad Ashraf, Mohammad Ishaq, Haji Abdur rahman, Abdul Hameed, Azizur Rehman and Haji Mohammad Zaman.

When contacted, the acting SSP, Inam Ghani, who assumed charge of his office on Wednesday, said that none of the people arrested during yesterday’s swoop has been released.

The police had a clash with students of Lal Masjid seminary when they raided the seminary leaving several people injured and damage to many vehicles.

The newly posted SSP Islamabad on Wednesday night held a meeting of police officers to review the law and order situation.

Agencies add: The raids were part of the ongoing crackdown on extremists.

Witnesses said that the clash between the police and the students started when the police contingents reportedly entered the Hafsa seminary without putting off their shoes and forced the students for search.

The decision to remove the top police officials was made at a high inter-provincial meeting at the interior ministry that reviewed law and order, security, crime rate and public safety in Islamabad.

Interior ministry sources told Online news agency that Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao rapped Islamabad police bosses for poor security and increasing incidents of thefts and dacoity.

Mr Sherpao was also critical of the police baton-charge on female students of Jamia Hafsa who were protesting against Tuesday’s police raid on the seminary.

The interior minister ordered the replacement of the Islamabad SSP and SP headquarters.

Police sources said, the president took strong exception of the incident and directed the interior ministry to take action against responsible officials.

A spokesman for Islamabad police, Mr Naeem, has confirmed that the interior ministry had taken action against the two police officers, but made it clear that these officials were not suspended, but transferred.

Meanwhile the police on Wednesday released 17 clerics including Maulana Abdul Qadir, Maulana Muhammad Yaqoob, Maulana Muhammad Bilal, Muhammad Irshad Shah, Muhammad Asim, Abdul Ahed, Muhammad Waqas, Muhammad Aslam, Ummar Hayat, Zakar Ali, Noor Habib Khanzada, Ghulam Rasool and Rehmat Din.

SECURITY: Security in the federal capital has been beefed up following the crackdown against banned religious outfits and sanctuaries on directives of President Musharraf.

High officials of the federal government tightened security measures in all parts of the country in view of possible reaction following the arrests of the ulemas from maddressahs and mosques after swoop launched against them.

In this regard, special escorts of police have been deployed at Imambargahs, embassies, worship places, educational institutions and other public places.

In Islamabad, Punjab Constabulary, Commandoes and Reserve Police besides Frontier Constabulary have been deployed to maintain law and order.

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