Investigation into the Model Town incident will start from the scratch. The Supreme Court has ordered the formation of a new joint investigation team (JIT) to unearth the facts that led to the killing of 14 supporters of Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in a police action in Lahore on June 17, 2014. A five-member larger bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, was specially constituted to debate a petition filed by Dr Qadri, seeking a new team to probe the Model Town case which is still pending judgment before an anti-terrorism court.
So now a new JIT, to be constituted by the Punjab government led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, will determine how and why the Model Town incident occurred. That now there is a new set of officials in the Punjab government — not including any of those nominated as accused in the case or having any political nexus with the accused persons or bearing a soft corner for them — must have served to address the reservations as to the impartiality and transparency of the investigation that Dr Qadri had thus far been seeking.
According to Dr Qadri, the ‘defective’ probe that had been going on for years but only saw ‘23 of a total of 157 witnesses’ testify before the court has now come to ‘zero’ — meaning the investigation should now start afresh.
The apex court has set no time frame for the JIT probe to complete. But the probe into the killing of no less than 14 people has already been drawn too long and must come to an end as early as possible. Dispensation of justice in this case is long overdue. The families of the Model Town police action victims have been waiting for justice for more than four years, and must not wait any further. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2018.