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January 21, 2020

CS summoned with JITs record in Model Town case

Lahore

January 21, 2020

LAHORE:A Lahore High Court full bench Monday expressed annoyance against Punjab government’s lawyer for not presenting the complete record of two Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) formed in the Model Town incident and summoned the chief secretary along with the required material.

On Dec 10, the bench headed by Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan had sought findings of the two JITs and the record of cabinet’s approval for their formation. As the bench resumed hearing on Monday, an additional advocate general presented the report of the first JIT and stated that a complete report of the second investigation team was not yet available. The bench observed that the report presented by the law officer was also not attested.

The law officer said the report was filed in the same form as the office of the advocate general had received it from the department concerned. Justice Khan observed that the advocate general office had not been showing seriousness in the proceedings. He also questioned government’s will to provide justice to the victims of the Model Town incident.

At one point, Justice Aalia Neelum, another member of the bench, also cautioned the law officer to remain careful in the selection of words while addressing the court. Justice Khan observed that the bench did not want to delay the decision in the case as a considerable time had already passed. The bench directed the chief secretary to appear in person along with all relevant record of the JITs on Feb 10. It also summoned the prosecutor general of Punjab on the next hearing.

Khurram Rafiq and other police officials facing trial in the Model Town case had challenged the legitimacy of the second JIT. Through an interim order, the bench had suspended the JIT formed by the PTI-led government in the province. On June 17, 2014, at least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured when police opened fire to disperse activists of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) during an “anti-encroachment” operation outside the residence of its chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri.

The PAT had filed a private complaint before an anti-terrorism court against then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, then Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and almost all federal and provincial cabinet of the PML-N besides officials of police and district administration accusing them of killing its workers.