In yet another incident of high-handedness by Punjab police, a sub-inspector in Pakpattan was suspended after allegedly manhandling a devotee visiting the shrine of Baba Farid Ganj Shakar for urs celebrations.
The sub-inspector, Aijaz Kalia, was posted at the shrine to oversee the security of visitors.
A video of the incident went viral on social media on Saturday in which visitors to the shrine can be seen standing in a queue just before the stairs leading inside.
In the video, a man in the queue can be seen raising his voice in protest in the presence of the police officer. It is not clear what the reason behind the man's protest was, but another man can heard saying: "Is there even a reason for closing it?"
The sub-inspector lost his composure and yelled at the protesting man, telling him to "Shut up" ["chup kar"] to which the man responded by saying, "Why should I keep quiet?"
As things got heated, the officer goaded the man to go ahead and speak up if he is so inclined, moving to cross a rope barrier between him and the queue of people, but then holding back.
All the while, people kept urging the officer as well as the man to refrain from letting things escalate.
A moment later, the man said, "You have wronged us". This set the officer off who reached over to grab the man from the collar, dragged him over and shook him violently before shoving him aside.
Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Ibadat Nisar released a video statement on the matter on Sunday.
"Yesterday some footage went viral on social media in which a sub-inspector used harsh language while speaking to a visitor and his behaviour was inappropriate," he said as he began his statement.
"I wish to [clarify] that Punjab police and Pakpattan police consider themselves to be in service of the people. We consider all the visitors who come here to be our guests. It is our effort to facilitate their safety and security, their travel and time here," said the DPO.
"We have taken serious action against the unfortunate incident which took place yesterday. The sub-inspector involved has been suspended immediately and a departmental investigation into the incident has been launched," said Nisar.
"The entire force has once again been briefed that in the Punjab police force, no one who demonstrates such behaviour will be tolerated and there will remain a zero-tolerance policy on this," the officer concluded by saying.
Punjab police have recently come under the spotlight for their high-handedness and unlawful methods of conducting police duties.
In the past week, three people — two in Lahore and one in Rahim Yar Khan — have died due to alleged torture by police officials.
In the latest incident of arrogant behaviour displayed by police — which occurred three days ago — an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of Lahore police was suspended and arrested for allegedly misbehaving with an old lady.
On August 26, officers of the anti-corruption department unearthed a torture cell in Lahore operated allegedly by the Gujjarpura station house officer along with three constables to keep suspects in custody on the pretext of interrogation.