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January 26, 2019

Opposition blasts Punjab govt over Sahiwal tragedy

January 26, 2019

LAHORE: Opposition members in Punjab Assembly on Friday strongly criticised the Punjab government for claiming the existence of banned outfit from Iraq and Syria -ISIS- in the province, despite that federal government had been denying such allegations.

Participating in the general debate on law and order, the opposition members referred to the shooting down of an innocent family by CTD officials in Sahiwal taking them as ISIS terrorists, saying that it was strange that the Punjab government’s ministers have been claiming that CTD had confirmed information that a gang of ISIS members was travelling in the car whereas the foreign office and federal government denied it.

The PML-N’s Samiullah Khan said the Sahiwal operation was conducted on unconfirmed information and fire was opened in cold blood without taking standard procedures. He demanded that strict action must be taken against that agency which provided incorrect and unconfirmed information about ISIS terrorists travelling in the ill-fated car. He said that in the past country’s security institutions conducted praiseworthy operations like Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasad, but CTD conducted an operation “One hundred percent correct” in Sahiwal on January 19 which earned bad name to the institutions. He said this august House must display the courage to demand strict action against that agency which caused the lives of innocent family by acting irresponsibly and providing wrong information. He said that history was testimony to the fact that whenever agencies deviated from professionalism and acted irresponsibly, they faced criticism. Former Speaker Rana Iqbal Ahmad Khan said the killers who massacred innocent, men, women and children deserved no sympathy and they should be exposed and punished. He demanded that JIT could never expose the killers in this fake encounter since it had already lost public confidence, adding that constituting the judicial commission was the only way to pin point the culprits.

The PML-N’s Rahila Naeem said it was noteworthy that the Punjab government and its agencies were admitting the existence of ISIS in the province against the outright denials by the federal government, accusing that provincial government was causing serious damage to national security and interests. She said CTD had been on countless occasions making the claims of having killed terrorists of ISIS in suspicious encounters, while the federal government and its agencies had been denying the existence of ISIS on country’s soil. She said secret agencies and government had so far failed in bringing any proof to support their allegations that Zeeshan was terrorist. She said the tip-off and the operation were both grossly wrong and irresponsibly conducted.

The PTI’s Samsam Bukhari said the Punjab province had already turned into a police state where only the gun ruled. He demanded that this rotten system must be changed and justice must not be delayed in the case. The PPP’s parliamentary leader Hasan Murtaza said the ministers’ briefing of the previous day on Sahiwal massacre was looking like a James Bond movie where secret information was flying to the CTD officials who chased and opened fire like movie heroes. He alleged the ministers for violating the ruling of Punjab Assembly Speaker, quoted one minister saying that ‘we are the government’. He said the innocent family was killed ‘extrajudicial’ in Sahiwal, asking why those officials supposed the guard the citizens had a long protocol of guards for themselves while the poor masses were left at the mercy of criminals.

He said the security officials were paid salaries from public money but in return they couldn’t provide security to the masses.