Sahiwal fallout: Senate panel proposes separate law for police encounters

Senate panel chief sees possible conspiracy against LEAs


Our Correspondent January 25, 2019
Sahiwal incident could be the conspiracy against the state institions, says Rehman Malik. PHOTO:FILE

ISLAMABAD: Senator Rehman Malik has said the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) does not seem to be involved in the last week  Sahiwal incident ‘as an institution’ and it looks more like a ‘mess up’ created by individual officers.

“Possibility of a conspiracy to undermine our institutions cannot be ruled out. As the initial investigation shows it can also be a result of personal animosity or some conspiracy,” Malik said on Friday while chairing a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior.

The committee members strongly condemned the January 19 incident in which four people including three members of a family were killed by the CTD officials near Sahiwal.

Sahiwal incident: Ex-IGs urge govt to show no leniency

The conflicting statements of different government officials and the incriminating videos showing the CTD officials removing three minor children from the fateful car before opening straight fire on the inmates had kicked up a storm with people from all segments of society condemning the brutal incident.

Discussing the incident, Malik said the police and the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are already sacrificing their lives in the fight against terrorism and a plot may have been hatched to weaken the institutions.

“We need to assess if some CTD individuals have been used in this conspiracy but we ensure that as a nation we will not get trapped in any such anti-Pakistan move,” he added.

Malik said the incident shocked the nation which warrants fair and impartial investigation into the matter so that those responsible could be punished.

Punjab Inspector General Police (IGP) Amjad Javed Saleemi and Punjab home secretary appeared before the committee and briefed it on the incident while also presenting preliminary report of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Malik said he appreciates both the federal and Punjab governments for their cooperation with the committee and their efforts regarding investigation process.

He told the committee that he has sent four letters and questionnaires to the Punjab government through the Interior Ministry and received the interim report in response to 42 questions. “I am myself examining the interim report and a copy of the report will be sent to each member,” he said.

The IGP told the committee that the rest of the questions of the committee shall be answered soon once the JIT completes its investigation. He said this committee would thoroughly monitor all the investigation regarding this case and would continue to guide the JIT.

Secretary Interior Azam Suleman Khan said the JIT should be given some time to complete investigations as they are observing the evidence collected by the police.  Malik directed the IGP that probe should be fair and impartial and the CTD officials must be treated as ordinary accused during investigation.

The committee also discussed the welfare plan for the children who survived the operation. Malik said the committee proposes that the children may be admitted to a cadet school and be fully supported by Punjab government which should bear their entire expenses.

“The government through the court should appoint a guardian for the minor children and they should also be provided facility of school, boarding and lodging.

Malik said the committee feels that there should be a separate law for police encounters to ensure that police does not assume roles of a judge, prosecutor and executioner.

“Ministry of Law may propose a comprehensive act to discourage a culture of killing the suspects in police custody.

He said killing during police custody has not been dealt seriously. Therefore, this should also be covered properly in the law to stop the killing of suspects by police officials.  A major penalty may be imposed on any such officers who are found guilty of extrajudicial killings with motives on different grounds, he said.

Malik said the Sahiwal incident has cast a stigma on the police which needs to be cleared with impartial investigation. “This committee would thoroughly examine the report and would recommend its own directions after final report is submitted,” he added.

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