At least nine officials of Lahore police, including a station house officer, were suspended on Sunday for harassing and illegally arresting employees of a restaurant in Lahore's DHA neighbourhood after they refused “free burgers” to the cops.
A couple of days prior to the incident, some police officers visited the eatery ‘Johnny and Jugnu’ located in DHA Phase-6 and attempted to get burgers free of charge. However, upon refusal, the cops left in rage and returned late on Friday night only to arrest the entire crew of the restaurant for reasons that the outlet described as "baseless and unjust".
Taking action on abuse of power by the cops, Punjab Inspector General Inam Ghani issued orders to suspend all officials involved in the incident, including the SHO of Defence-C Police station, for exceeding their authority.
The Punjab police chief also directed the Lahore CCPO to take strict departmental and legal action against the personnel involved in the incident without any delay, according to a statement.
He further said that the “officers and personnel involved in illegal activities do not deserve any concession so no leniency should be given in taking action against those responsible after the inquiry.”
Narrating details of the incident, the restaurant posted on its Facebook page: “This was not the first time something like this has happened with our kitchen teams at our restaurant, but we want to make sure this is the last. Yesterday night, around 1am our kitchen teams were taken into custody by the Police.”
It added that “19 of our innocent crew members were kept locked up at the [police] station for the entire night, without any basis, as per orders from their SHO.”
The statement regretted that demanding free food by policemen had "become a common practice" and when the restaurant staff refused the same earlier this week, the police officers "threatened our managers and left, only to return the next day to further harass and pressurise our teams on ground with baseless arguments, asking them to close the restaurant”.
On June 11, for almost seven hours in the night, “they (policemen) kept our team locked up, harassing them, pushing them around, all for not giving them free burgers, for not entertaining a 'request from a very high profile special guest'”, the restaurant said.