LAHORE - Waking up to the Supreme Court’s stern warning over the murder of a mother-of-five, Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Habibur Rehman has suspended Khanewal’s top cops.

According to a handout issued here Tuesday, the provincial police chief suspended Khanewal Saddar Circle DSP Javaid Khan, Kacha Khuh SHO Inspector Shamshad Khalid and Aaqil Chowki Incharge SI Muhammad Ashraf.

It added that he recommended a judicial inquiry into the incident and transfer of Multan Regional Police Officer (RPO) while the Khanewal District Police Officer (DPO) had been closed to the Punjab Police Headquarters.

The IGP also constituted an inquiry team that would be headed by Sheikhupura RPO Zulfiqar Cheema while Lahore Investigation DIG Ch Shafique Ahmed and Punjab Investigation SSP Tariq Nawaz Malik would be its members, the handout said.

Reportedly, 35-year-old Maryam Bibi was lynched on the order of a Panchayat (village council) as she had refused a landlord’s advances. The landlord also abducted her husband. The police had booked nine people for her murder.

Denying that she was stoned to death, the Khanewal DPO Waqar Abbasi submitted a report to the Supreme Court on Monday, saying: “Sarfraz confessed that he murdered his wife after she hit his head with a brick.”

However, the court rejected the report and observed that the police were backing the accused in this case as their previous investigation record did not match their recent report.  A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took up the case.

A wave of uncertainty has hit the Punjab police after the officers are taken to task. Police sources believed that a major reshuffle in the police is in the offing following the transfer of several officers.

The court directed the federal and provincial governments to take appropriate action within three days against Inspector General Police Punjab, DIG and other police officers who are involved in the investigation into the murder.

The CJP observed that IGP and other investigation officers did not deserve occupying such important positions meant to protect the fundamental rights and security of the citizens.

Federal and provincial governments should look into the matter and examine that whether such police officers should continue working on these posts, the court ordered.  It is duty of the executive to move forward against the persons who are failing to protect fundamental rights and protection of the people, the court observed.