The military’s media affairs wing said on Friday that a joint inquiry comprising security and police officials would be conducted for “ascertaining the facts and apportioning responsibility” for the “unfortunate incident” in Bahawalnagar.

On Wednesday, a string of videos showing Pakistan Army officers allegedly assaulting and beating up cops in Bahawalnagar went viral on social media. One video showed a man sitting on the ground with a bloody nose. Another clip showed a man and two army personnel forcing policemen to kneel in a queue.

Some social media users claimed that the incident was motivated by police recovering an illegal weapon from the relative of a soldier.

Dawn.com could not independently verify the authenticity of the clips.

The footage had also drawn outrage from politicians.

Subsequently, the Punjab Police had decried “fake propaganda”. “This matter in Bahawalnagar, which went viral on social media, has been taken out of context and exaggerated,” the police said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

Today, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) — without giving any details of the alleged incident — said: “An unfortunate incident occurred in Bahawalnagar recently, which was promptly addressed and resolved through collaborative efforts of military and police authorities.

“Despite this, certain factions with vested motives started fanning vitriolic propaganda on social media to create divisions between state institutions and government departments,” the ISPR said.

“To ensure a fair and deliberate inquiry, and to determine responsibility for violation of laws and misuse of authority, a joint inquiry comprising security and police officials will be conducted for ascertaining the facts and apportioning responsibility,” it said.

Punjab IG says incident occurred due to ‘not following protocols’

Meanwhile, Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar said that the morale of the provincial police force was the basis on which action was taken against terrorists and dacoits.

In a video message posted on X, the IG said that an attempt was made on social media to give the impression of a conflict between the army and the police with regard to the Bahawalnagar incident.

“Immediate action was taken and the Bahawalpur regional police officer (RPO) and the local army command visited the area,” he said.

Sharing an image of what he said was a statement from a banned organisation, the IG said that it used the incident to create conflict between institutions and was trying to portray to the people “that we are fighting amongst ourselves and will not go after the enemy”.

The IG said that some videos were shown without context while older ones were also posted, which resulted in “despondence” among the Punjab police.

Talking about the incident, the Punjab police chief said that special initiative police stations were formed. He said that standard operating procedures and protocols were not followed, which resulted in a “reaction”.

He said that both sides visited the area, sat together and raised slogans of ‘Long live Pakistan’, ‘Long live the army’ and ‘Long live the Punjab police’ to eradicate the impression that there was a conflict between the institutions.

The IG said that both institutions had initiated departmental action. “And in this regard, a joint inquiry has also been established so that all requirements of justice are fulfilled,” he said.

He also called on the nation to not fall victim to “trolling and bashing”.

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