JIT formed to investigate Bahawalnagar incident

LAHORE: A six-member Joint Inquiry Team (JIT) comprising officers of police, military and local administration has been constituted to probe the Bahawalnagar incident wherein a faceoff broke out between some police officials and military personnel.

The Punjab Home Department has formed the team and appointed Special Secretary Interior Atta-ur-Rehman as its convener. The JIT also includes the Bahawalpur Division commissioner, DIG police special branch Punjab and officers of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau.

After short video clips showing dozens of masked men wearing military garbs thrashing cops in Bahawalnagar went viral on social media, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Friday said the Pakistan Army and the Punjab Police had decided to jointly investigate the incident.

The military’s media wing in a statement had said an unfortunate incident occurred in Bahawalnagar recently, which was promptly addressed and resolved through collaborative efforts of military and police authorities.

“Despite this, certain factions with vested motives started fanning vitriolic propaganda on social media to create divisions between state institutions and government departments,” the statement read.

A string of videos went viral which purportedly showed men in army uniforms beating up police personnel in Bahawalnagar, which drew criticism from different segments of social media.

Later on Wednesday, the Punjab Police had objurgated the “fake propaganda” on social media platforms, saying in a post on X that the matter had been taken out of context.

The joint team will now investigate the police raid in Bahawalnagar at the house of an army official on April 8 during which policemen allegedly subjected his family members to torture. The JIT will also probe similar violent incidents that unfolded in the raid’s aftermath later on April 9 and 10.

Under the terms of references approved by the team, the JIT will investigate the motives behind police raid at the house of Rafaqat, figure out what led to the incidents and make recommendations to avoid such events’ happening in the future.

The publication said the Punjab chief secretary, principal secretary to chief minister, inspector general of police, ISI sector commander, MI sector commander, IB (Punjab) joint director general and other relevant stakeholders have been informed about constitution of the JIT.

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