Nineteen staff members of a fast-food restaurant in Pakistan's Lahore were allegedly detained last weekend after they refused to give free burgers to the police. Burger joint Johnny & Jugnu, located in the eastern part of Lahore, said that a group of policemen walked in last week and demanded free burgers, something the restaurant said had become a recurring practice. When the staff refused them the free burgers, the police, the restaurant said, threatened the managers before leaving the premises.
However, they returned the next day to harass and pressurise them again.
They alleged that not only were the staff members kept “locked up for seven hours” but also harassed and pushed around. The restaurant said the staff was not even given time to close down the kitchen, leaving “fryers still running, customers waiting for their orders”.
In a statement on their official Facebook handle, Johnny & Jugnu said that whatever happened caused “a lot of disappointment, anger, and pain”. The statement added that the incident was not the first and may not be the last. “Not until we find it in ourselves to raise our voice, to fight against the injustice that prevails, against the abuse of power against a common man,” the statement read.
“And this is what we get in return — injustice, unfair treatment. Our innocent teams being dragged to the police station because they refused to give free burgers to someone “very special”. We're not ones to stop, we're not ones to give up. And we will fight. We will fight against the unjust systems,” added the post.
The restaurant has also implored small businesses that faced the same brutality to reach out and support them. “If you can help us in any way, reach out to us. If you're a small business that has faced the same brutality, reach out to us. If you are an artist who wants to use their voice or influence to talk about this, reach out to us. If you're just an individual who feels the same way, get in touch,” read the statement.
Read the post here:
Meanwhile, Dawn, a leading English daily in Pakistan, has reported that at least nine officials, including a station house officer, of Lahore Police, have been suspended for harassing and illegally arresting employees of Johnny & Jugnu. Following last weekend's incident, senior police officer Inam Ghani issued orders to suspend all officials involved in the incident for exceeding their authority.
He further said that the “officers and personnel involved in illegal activities do not deserve any concession so no leniency should be given in taking action against those responsible after the inquiry.”