ISLAMABAD - The federal government on Thursday removed Inspector General of Islamabad Police Aftab Cheema, a well-reputed police officer, allegedly due to his refusal to use force against protestors.

"The government has removed Inspector General of Islamabad Police Aftab Cheema and DIG Headquarter Khalid Khattak has been given additional charge of top slot of ICT police," a spokesperson of the ICT police said on Thursday.

He declined to go into details when asked what made the government to show him the door that too at a time when Islamabad police together with Punjab police were struggling hard to control thousands of marchers in Islamabad.

Following the removal of top man of Islamabad police, the capital was abuzz with the speculations that the government removed him after the later refusal to comply with illegal orders of the Interior Ministry.

An official of ICT police alleged that a top official of Interior Ministry verbally directed Aftab Cheema to use force against the protesters who stormed gates of the Parliament House on Wednesday. The officer refused to comply with the orders, which led to his removal from the office. The authorities appointed DIG Headquarters Khalid Khattak as acting IG Islamabad police. The removal of Aftab Cheema from the office panicked Chairman PTI Imran Khan. He said, "The government has removed the IG ICT police because he refused to use force against workers of PTI and PAT. Is this democracy?" 

However, a source told The Nation that the government did not remove Aftab Cheema from office. Rather it was Cheema who had applied for 'leave' that was accepted by the Interior Ministry.

Some officials of Interior Ministry told The Nation on condition of anonymity that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was not satisfied with the performance of Aftab Cheema. Relationship between the two had been strained following Sikh's attack on parliament in May this year to protest the alleged desecration of their holy book in Sindh.

The Nation tried to contact Aftab Cheema twice to get his version but he did not answer the call.

Cheema's removal has opened anther front between Imran Khan and the government. The PTI's leadership also claimed that Cheema was dismissed because of his refusal to use force against the PTI protesters, who are currently staging a sit-in outside the Parliament House, Islamabad.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi told The Nation that the government removed Cheema because he refused to crackdown on PTI workers'.