MULTAN, Feb 20: A schoolteacher booked by the Bhakkar police for blasphemy has been suspended from service and faces a departmental inquiry, Dawn has learnt.

Bhakkar EDO Education Wahiduddin Shah confirmed the suspension and departmental action against Tanveer Ahmed, a teacher at Government High School, Dhandla. He, however, refused to share the details of the regulations allowing such an action against a teacher accused of a criminal offence.

Bhakkar Saddar police registered last week a blasphemy case against Tanveer on the complaint of his student that the teacher had disrespected the images of holy places and the footprint of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh).

The suspect was slapped, kicked and thrashed by the residents instigated by announcements on mosques' public address systems and text messages. He was taken to the Bhakkar District Headquarters Hospital only to be referred to Multan Nishtar Hospital for his life-threatening injuries.

Police have lodged FIRs against the teacher and protesters.

District Police Officer Humayun Masood Sandhu said that a committee constituted by District Coordination Officer Sohail Qureshi has started a probe into the matter and recorded the statements of students and teachers.

The committee includes Saddar DSP Wasim Ejaz Jhakhar, EDO Education Wahiduddin Shah, District Officer Revenue Chaudhry Rafique, and three members each from Shia and Sunni sects.

He said the suspect was still under treatment and he did not join the investigation. He said that police were also trying to nab the instigators.According to a relative of the teacher, Tanveer was set up by his colleagues over staffroom politics.

He said that a teacher had lodged many complaints against Tanveer in the past. He said Shias were feeling insecure after the incident.

GUJRANWALA, Feb 20: The Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has demanded that American gunman Raymond Davis should be tried in Pakistan.

At a meeting held here on Sunday chaired by GCCI president Sheikh Sarwat Ikram, traders' representatives said if Dr Aafia Siddiqui could be tried in an American court Davis could be tried in a Pakistani court. They said the government should tell the US that Davis had no immunity under any law. — Correspondent

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