Model Town incident: Punjab challenges LHC verdict to make inquiry report public

Published: September 23, 2017
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Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP/File

Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP/File

LAHORE: The Punjab government on Saturday filed an intra-court appeal against the ruling of a single bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) which called for making public the judicial inquiry report into the Model Town incident.

The application has been fixed for hearing on Monday (tomorrow).

Acting Chief Justice of the LHC Justice Mohammad Yawar Ali moved to form a two-judge bench headed by Justice Abdul Sami Khan. Justice Syed Shahbaz Rizvi will also serve on the bench.

The 20-page appeal, in which heirs of those killed in the incident, were nominated as defendants, was prepared by a team headed by Advocate General Punjab Shakeelur Rehman Khan and filed by Additional Advocate General Punjab Qasim Ali Chowhan.

It contended that a three-member full bench of the LHC was already conducting hearings in the matter of making the inquiry report public. These applications were scheduled to be taken up on Monday (tomorrow).

Model Town violence: Is judicial commission report public paper?

Maintaining that the ruling of Justice Muzahir Ali Taqavi was illegal, the Punjab government contended that the point of view of the Punjab government should be a necessary element during the hearing of all constitutional petitions.

But the single-bench, the provincial government maintained, did not seek a written reply from the Punjab home secretary or a relevant representative of the Punjab government and hurriedly ruled to make the judicial inquiry report public.

It also contended that “making the report public or not is the sole prerogative” of the Punjab government. Judicial inquiries, it stated, were instituted to know the facts to avert the possibility of recurrence of such incidents in future, and such reports could not be used as evidence.

LHC orders Punjab govt to release judicial report of Model Town incident

Meanwhile, heirs of the Model Town incident victims filed a contempt of court application against Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Law Minister Rana Sanullah, the provincial chief secretary and others. They contended that the Punjab government was defying a direct order by an LHC judge.

They maintained that they sought the intervention of various forums for securing the release of the judicial inquiry report compiled by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, but they were consistently being denied which was in violation of Article 204 of the Constitution, amounting to the contempt of court.

They alleged that they were being denied the report at the behest of the Punjab chief minister.

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