LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday appeared before a joint investigation team (JIT) probing the 2014 killings of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers in clashes with police at Lahore’s Model Town.
The JIT, formed by the Punjab Home Department earlier this year to re-launch fresh investigation into the tragedy, had summoned Shehbaz to record his statement in the case.
The investigation team is headed by Motorways Inspector General (IG) AD Khawaja, and comprises Lt Colonel Mohammad Attique-uz-Zaman from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Lt Colonel Irfan Mirza from Military Intelligence (MI). Mohammad Ahmed Kamal, Deputy Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), and Qamar Raza, Gilgit-Baltistan Police Headquarters Deputy Inspector General (DIG), are also a part of the JIT.
At least 14 people were killed with hundreds injured in police action against the PAT workers in Lahore on June 17, 2014. The then Punjab government, at the behest of the Lahore High Court, made the report for the Model Town incident public on December 5, 2017.
The report, drafted by Justice (r) Baqir Najfi-led commission, had termed the 2014 tragedy as the “most unfortunate incident” in the country’s history. It said that the police tried to cover up the facts regarding who gave orders to open fire at protesters.
The report added that no legal opinion was sought from the Punjab advocate general prior to the start of the operation.
The commission, in its report, stated that on the ground, the standoff continued the whole night, resulting in minor injuries to police constables as well as PAT workers.
The commission observed: “The level of cooperation in digging out the truth is that no police official from top to bottom, whether actively participated in the operation or not, did utter a single word about the person under whose command the police resorted to firing upon the PAT workers.”
Further, in its conclusion, the commission said, “It is shocking to note that everyone has deliberately but unsuccessfully tried to cover each other from possible adverse legal effects.”