The Pakistan government on Monday suspended Islamabad's police chief and two other officials, acting on a Supreme Court order against the violent crackdown on protestors during anti-Musharraf demonstrations.
Chief Justice Iftikhar M Chaudhry, who took suo motu cognisance of Saturday's police action that left dozens of lawyers and mediapersons injured, directed immediate action against those responsible for the incidents. Over 80 people were wounded after police used batons and tear gas to disperse the protesters opposing Musharraf's re-election bid.
"This is a very serious matter...the civil administration is not doing any service to the people," said Chaudhry, who became a rallying point for anti-Musharraf forces after he was suspended by the General in March. He was reinstated by the apex court in July following mass protests spearheaded by lawyers.
Interior Secretary Kamal Shah, who was summoned by the Chief Justice, told the apex court that a high-powered committee has been constituted to probe the incidents. Chaudhry remarked that committees have been formed in the past but he wanted immediate action and Islamabad's Inspector General Marwah Shah, "should be suspended and arrested as he is responsible for whatever happened".
Chaudhry added that other top police and administration officials should also be suspended. The chief justice also watched the TV footage of the crackdown recorded by private channels.
The Interior Ministry later issued suspension orders for Inspector General of Police Islamabad Syed Murrawat Ali Shah, Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Muhamamd Ali and Senior Superintendent of Police Naeem Khan.
The clashes had erupted outside the Election Commission on Saturday, after the body approved Musharraf's candidature for the October 6 presidential election.
Meanwhile, lawyers across Pakistan continued their anti-Musharraf campaign by boycotting courts and holding processions in all major cities to condemn the police action.
On Sunday, journalists in Pakistan observed 'Black Day' to protest the police brutality. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists condemned the government's actions and termed them "shameful".
"What happened yesterday was shameful. It was the darkest day in Pakistan's history," said Mushtaq Minhas, president of the Islamabad press club.