Model Town Case: SC orders new JIT formation

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday wrapped up proceedings of the suo moto Model Town case, ordering the Punjab government to form a new Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

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At least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured in police action against Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers in Lahore’s Model Town area during an ‘anti-encroachment operation’ on June 17, 2014.

A larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing the suo moto case pertaining to the formation of a new JIT in the Model Town case.

During proceedings, the Punjab government assured the top court that a new JIT would be formed.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chief Tahirul Qadri who appeared before the apex court spoke to reporters, stating that the supremacy of law had been upheld.  “The court said that there was no other way but to form a JIT. The court’s stance was also supported by the Punjab government,” Qadri said.

The apex court had forwarded notices to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders in the case, as it was the ruling party in the province and centre during the time.

PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz, Saad Rafique, Chaudhry Nisar, Pervez Rashid, Khawaja Asif, Abid Sher Ali and Rana Sanaullah were sent notices.

Moreover, Attorney General Punjab Ahmed Awais was sent a notice by the Supreme Court.

Report

The Punjab government, at the behest of the Lahore High Court, had made the report of the Model Town incident public on December 5, 2017.

The inquiry report, prepared by Justice Baqir Najfi commission, said that police tried to cover up the facts regarding who gave orders to open fire on protesters.

It adds that no legal opinion was sought from the Punjab advocate general prior to the start of the operation.

The commission, in its report, also stated that on the ground, the standoff continued the whole night, resulting in minor injuries to police constables as well as PAT workers.

The commission observed: “The level of cooperation in digging out the truth is that no police official from top to bottom, whether actively participated in the operation or not, did utter a single word about the person under whose command the police resorted to firing upon the PAT workers.”

Further, in its conclusion, the commission said, “It is shocking to note that everyone has deliberately but unsuccessfully tried to cover each other from possible adverse legal effects.”

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