LAHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) full bench on Thursday asked the counsel for Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) to furnish all the material as well as reasoning, which, in his opinion, are sufficient proof for the trial court to summon former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other members of the federal and provincial cabinets in a private complaint relating to 2014 Model Town incident. The bench headed by Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan was hearing the appeals moved by the parties involved in the trial court’s proceedings.
Representing PAT, Azhar Siddique argued that the anti-terrorism court (ATC) had not summoned 12 persons (all parliamentarians of PML-N) nominated as accused by the complainant.
He pointed out that the court had just summoned 125 police and district government officials for their trial. He urged the bench to set aside the trial court’s decision and admit the complaint also against the political leaders. “What was that record/evidence against the political leaders, which the trial court had ignored?” the bench asked the lawyer. Siddique said the complainant was unable to present the record before the trial court, which had been collected later.
“How can we view new evidence at this stage?” observed the bench and directed the counsel to submit the complete record previously presented before the trial court.
Earlier, Prosecutor General Ehtesham Qadir Shah told the bench that the accused had been initially summoned by the trial court in the private complaint, while statements of the witnesses were recorded. He said the appeal of the PAT was not maintainable at this stage of the proceedings. The bench adjourned further hearing till Friday (today) and directed the PAT’s counsel to present the record. Justice Aalia Neelum and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem were the other members of the full bench. Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the delayed proceedings in the Model Town incident-related cases and directed the LHC to decide the relevant appeals within two weeks.
On the other hand, an ATC on Thursday again issued non-bailable arrest warrants of former DIG Rana Abdul Jabbar and Sub-Inspector Sheikh Asim for not complying with the orders by for not appearing before the court despite repeated notice. On Thursday, the court also recorded statements of two more witnesses, DSP Muhammad Arshad and Constable Naseem Ahmad, and adjourned the hearing till today (Friday).
The ATC is conducting hearing of the case on a daily basis on the apex court’s directions. It had earlier indicted 116 police officials on a private complaint filed by Idara Minhaj-ul-Quran for seeking their trial on charges of killing its workers. The court in 2017 had partially admitted the complaint against 125 police and district government officials, while rejecting the same to the extent of Nawaz, Shahbaz and 10 others, including federal and provincial ministers. The appeals of the accused officials summoned by the trial court were pending with the Lahore High Court.
Other political leaders and officials against whom the ATC had rejected the complaint are: Hamza Shahbaz, Rana Sanaullah, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Khawaja Asif, Pervaiz Rashid, Abid Sher Ali, Chaudhry Nisar, Tauqir Shah, Azam Suleman and Rashid Mahmood Langrial.