PM Khan visits Sahiwal ‘encounter’ victims, gives cheques worth Rs30m

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday paid a visit to the family of Sahiwal ‘encounter’ case and distributed cheques worth Rs30 million, said Punjab government’s spokesperson Shahbaz Gill.

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PM, accompanied by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar at the CM Secretariat , conveyed his deepest condolences to the survivors of the incident saying, “while there can be no compensation for the loss of human lives, the government stands with the family and shares their grief.”

Mohammad Jalil, one of the victim’s brother, acknowledged that Premier’s visit gave him a “ray of hope” while demanding to form the judicial commission to probe the incident. “The second demand was that the case be transferred to Lahore, and the third demand was that the false FIR registered by the JIT be revoked,” Jalil further said.

Premier agreed to fulfill the demands and assured that they will be met, Jalil added, saying the family is now “hopeful that they will get justice.”

On January 19, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD)  claimed that the local commander of militant organisation, Daesh, and three others, including two women, were killed in an operation near GT Road.

According to a CTD spokesperson, “four people, including two women and Daesh local commander Zeeshan, have been killed and one child has been injured in the cross-fire.” The suspects were kidnappers and three children were recovered, police said.

“Three terrorists managed to escape and have been identified as Shahid Jabbar, Abdul Rehman and their accomplice,” the spokesperson added.

According to the spokesperson, “A CTD team tried to intercept a car and motorcycle near the toll plaza, however, the people in the car starting firing at them.”

Eyewitnesses conflicted the CTD’s statements and said the people in the car did not fire at officials. “There were no weapons found with the bodies,” they said.

A Joint Investigative Team under DIG Zulfiqar Hameed was formed to investigate the alleged shootout. The JIT included the members of ISI, MI and IB.

But when the families of the victims showed dissatisfaction with the JIT, the Lahore High Court (LHC), on February 14, ordered judicial investigation to be conducted.

Subsequently, civil judge-cum-judicial magistrate Shakeel Goraya was appointed by a sessions judge to hold the probe within 30 days.

The statements of 49 people, including eyewitnesses, deceased Khalil’s son Muhammad Ibrahim, the CTD suspects, personnel of the Yousafwala police station, Rescue 1122 and the Bomb Disposal Squad and complainants of both FIRs — one registered at the CTD, Lahore and the other at the Yousafwala police station, Sahiwal were recorded by The Judicial Inquiry Officer (JIO).

Goraya’s JIT affirmed Khalil and family to be innocent while dubbing the driver Zeeshan a terrorist.

On March 3, Shahbaz Gill said the JIT has discarded the CTD claim of crossfire in Sahiwal ‘encounter’ and no proof of existence of suspected motorcyclists was found.

Six CTD officials nominated in the case were presented before the Anti Terrorism Court in Sahiwal on April 04. The suspects filed a plea to remove Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) from the first information report (FIR) of the incident which ATC fixed for hearing.

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