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Wednesday December 01, 2021

Officer indicted in Sahiwal tragedy case awarded Sitara-e-Shujaat

March 27, 2021
Officer indicted in Sahiwal tragedy case awarded Sitara-e-Shujaat

ISLAMABAD: Although the government courted controversy for giving the Pride of Performance award to the famous singer Ali Zafar at a time when harassment allegations against him were under examination, the honouring of a police officer who was chiefly blamed for the Sahiwal incident has gone unnoticed.

An SSP-rank officer of Counter Terrorism Department Punjab who was among those indicted in connection with Sahiwal tragedy, has been awarded on March 23 with Sitara-e-Shujaat in recognition of his “extraordinary courage and bravery shown in the face of dangers.”

This is the second highest civil award for bravery. Out of 24 awardees of Sitara-e-Shujaat, he is among the four living souls who received this honour as others received after martyrdom. The ISI’s Deputy Director is another one who is reportedly the first-ever officer of the premier agency decorated with this honour. He was recognised for his services as the commanding officer of counter-terrorism wing of Multan. Majority among the remaining 20 are doctors who lost their lives while saving fellow countrymen in the fight against corona.

As far as CTD officer is concerned, he was put under suspension in connection with the Sahiwal shooting in January 2019 that took the lives of Mohammad Khalil, his wife and three children. They were travelling in a car together with Zeeshan Javed, their neighbour, when CTD personnel stopped the vehicle and opened fire on the passengers suspecting them as terrorists. Khalil’s two children had survived.

The incident sparked public outcry and action was demanded against the responsible. Holding CTD responsible the Punjab government removed five senior police officers, including the CTD chief, from their posts and ordered trial of the five personnel in an anti-terrorism court. The action was announced by Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat in a press conference conducted to share the findings of a Joint Investigation Team’s interim report.