LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Following the Supreme Court orders, the Punjab Police finally registered the first information report (FIR) of gun attack on former prime minister Imran Khan during the PTI long march at City Police Station Wazirabad on Monday, breaking the deadlock that continued for almost 5 days.
The chief justice had directed Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Faisal Shahkar to register an FIR in accordance with the law and submit a report within 24 hours. The prime suspect Naveed, who was captured from the crime scene, has been nominated in the case, registered under various charges including terrorism, murder and attempt to murder.
The FIR, No. 691/22, has been registered on the complaint of SHO City Wazirabad Amir Shahzad, under sections 302, 324, 440 and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The FIR said as the march reached the opposite side of the Rescue-1122 offices at around 4pm, an unknown person, who was later identified as Naveed, son of Bashir Mehar, opened fire with a pistol from the left side of the container.
As a result, a PTI activist identified as Moazzam, son of Nawaz of Bharoki Cheema, received bullet injury, which proved fatal for him. In the meantime, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Muhammad Ahmad Chatha, Hamza Altaf, Faisal Javed, Mian Azhar Hussain, Imran Yousaf, Rashid Mahmood, Muhammad Liaquat, Zahid Hussain, Umar Farooq, Areeb Hassan and some unknown persons received bullet injuries.
An activist of PTI later identified as Hassan Ibtesam captured the accused person and helped stopping further firing by the attacker. Afterwards, the PTI chairman departed for Lahore after getting first aid, while other injured persons were shifted to Civil Hospital Wazirabad for treatment. Police got the report registered and collected evidence.
The complainant further stated that the incident was of a sensitive and serious nature, which created unrest and terror among people. Further investigations are underway. Earlier, Zubair Niazi, a relative of PTI chief Imran Khan and general-secretary of PTI Lahore chapter had lodged a complaint with the station house officer (SHO) concerned to register an FIR against the prime minister, interior minister and a senior military officer named by Imran Khan as suspects in the failed assassination attempt.
The FIR has been registered on the complaint of the police and the three top officials have not been nominated in the case. The suspect Naveed had admitted to opening fire on the container, but he did not point out to anyone during the initial investigation. He remained firmed that he acted alone and claimed that a few speeches of Imran Khan hurt his religious sentiments.
His mobile phone reportedly had those clips. Besides, speeches of a few religious scholars were also recovered from his mobile phone. The suspect said that he used to hear the speeches of the religious scholars.
The investigators and the federal government are adamant that the attacker acted alone. However, the PTI leadership including Imran Khan said Naveed was only a pawn, who executed the assassination plot, hatched by three powerful personalities of the country.
Earlier, the Supreme Court (SC) Monday ordered for registration of the first information report (FIR) about the assassination attempt on former prime minister and Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan within 24 hours.
Police said the SC order was complied with by registering the case on Monday. A five-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, heard a contempt petition, filed by the interior ministry against Imran Khan for violating its order of May 25, 2022.
The court took strong exception to non-filing of an FIR by the Punjab police about assassination attempt on Imran Khan in Wazirabad during his long march towards Islamabad. The court directed Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Faisal Shahkar to lodge within 24 hours an FIR and submit a report before the court. The CJ warned the IGP if he failed to file an FIR in the given time period, the court would exercise its original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of taking suo moto notice on the matter.
Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Imran Khan, appeared before the court and submitted that in pursuance of court’s last order direction, he met the PTI chairman and drafted the reply for the court; however, he informed the court an assassination attempt had been made on his client.
He submitted that he had drafted the reply but sought some time to submit it properly. “Obviously, you may have valid grounds for seeking time and if we are not satisfied, will not give you more time to submit reply,” the CJP told the counsel.
The CJ asked the counsel whether an FIR had been lodged on the assassination attempt on his client. Raja submitted that he was not aware about the matter, adding that an attempt was made so, but he think the FIR had not yet been registered.
“This is very distressing,” the CJ remarked, adding even after passage of some 90 hours since occurrence of the incident, an FIR had not been registered. “If there is no FIR, then there will be no investigation; and when there is no investigation, no evidence could be collected for reaching any conclusion,” the CJP remarked.
“Is someone from the Punjab Police present in the courtroom,” the CJ asked. At this, IGP Punjab Faisal Shahkar appeared through video-link from Lahore Registry of the apex court. “I heard about you that you have a remarkable stature at international level; therefore, you are required to render your professional obligation,” the chief justice told IGP Punjab, directing him to ensure registration of an FIR within 24 hours.
“At the moment, we are not taking suo moto notice on the matter and providing you an opportunity to do the needful in 24 hours,” the CJP directed the IGP. “Each one of us assure you that you will get full support in discharging of your professional duties and capabilities so go head in accordance with the law,” the CJP continued.
The CJP directed the provincial police chief to investigate the matter by assigning the task to his subordinate dutiful officers. “We expect that an investigation will be carried out on sound footing and with professional capabilities,” the CJP remarked.
The CJ observed that no interference would be allowed during the course of investigation, to be carried out by the Punjab police chief. “Whoever is the complainant; what is lost; just go into the investigation in accordance with the law,” the CJ told the IGP Punjab, adding that they had seen his resignation.
“We want to assure you that nobody would be allowed to interfere in your work and if someone does so, we will look into it as well,” the CJP continued.
“There is an attempt mage on life of a national leader; therefore, you must take it seriously and conduct investigation in accordance with the law,” the CJP said. IGP Faisal Shahkar submitted that Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi had stopped police from lodging the FIR in the instant matter, adding that the matter had some political angles to it; however, he said that the police also had some other options and authority to deal with it.
“But the provincial government’s grievances cannot override the opinion of the police; therefore, go head, file and FIR and start investigation,” the CJP asked the IGP, adding that the reservations of Punjab chief minister could not hinder registration of the FIR.
“Provision of justice in the criminal justice system is our utmost responsibility, and we will support the police in the instant matter,” the CJP remarked.
Meanwhile, while during the hearing, Senator Azam Swati also came to rostrum and asked as to whether he could show the video of him and his wife to the chief justice.
“Don’t show your video to anyone,” the CJP asked Senator Swati, adding that the court was very alarmed on his matter. “Whatever happened to you is very painful,” remarked the chief justice.
The CJ told Swati that the Human Rights (HR) Cell of the apex court was dealing with his matter, and after it conducted a thorough investigation and submitted a report, the court would definitely deal with it in accordance with the law.
“Mr Swati, right now, we cannot do anything unless the HR Cell comes to a conclusion and that’s why we are going about it very carefully,” the CJP told the senator.
“You are a senator and very much respectable, but you don’t know how much enemies you may have and who can do this,” the CJP told Swati, adding that it’s very difficult to know the truth; therefore, “we have to go by law”.
Later, the court directed Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Imran Khan, to submit his reply within a week in the contempt case, filed by the interior ministry, seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the PTI chairman for violating its order, passed on May 25 regarding long march on Islamabad.
Separately, giving his reaction on registration of an FIR, PTI senior leader Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said in a tweet on Monday that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had already made public its viewpoint. “If names of Shehbaz Sharif, Rana Sanaullah and an army official are part of the FIR, it is a legal FIR.
“And if these names are not included in the FIR, it will be merely a piece of paper for the PTI, and it will have no legal standing,” he added. “We will not accept any distortion in the names,” he warned.
Fawad Chaudhry said “I would like to ask the chief justice of Pakistan that the only power which would see no fall ever if of God. Nobody is going to stay as the chief justice ever, nor any army general remains in his seat for life. One is always remembers what legacy one has left for the coming generations. The nation remembers you because of your deeds,” he said in the second tweet.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PMLQ) leader Moonis Elahi reacted sharply to IGP Punjab statement in the Supreme Court that Punjab CM Parvez Elahi stopped them from registering an FIR in Imran Khan murderous attack case.
He re-tweeted the IGP Punjab statement with an explanatory comment that the FIR of the murder attack on Imran Khan was prevented from being registered against unknown persons. He said the police were prevented from filing an FIR against their standpoint.
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