JIT report points to Zeeshan’s terror links: Chohan

Identification parade of accused, postponed on Tuesday, to take place today


Our Correspondent January 29, 2019
The victim, Areeba, was studying for matriculation and was in tenth grade. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

LAHORE: Punjab Information Minister Fayaz-ul-Hassan Chohan has said the preliminary report of a joint investigation team (JIT) on the Sahiwal incident shows that three of the four people killed in the alleged encounter on January 17 were innocent but the driver, Zeeshan, allegedly belonged to a terror group.

“JIT has sought one-month time to complete its investigation but has submitted its preliminary report, which incriminates Zeeshan,” Chohan said in a statement issued to the media on Tuesday.

He said the JIT had visited the crime scene twice and recorded the statements of eyewitnesses. “Five policemen who were involved in killing of innocent citizens are confined to the jail after registration of criminal case against them under section 302 of the PPC.”

The minister said the difference between Old and Naya Pakistan could be judged from the fact that upon hearing about the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar not only reached the spot within six hours but also met the family members of the deceased.

Sibling recalls how his teenage sister was killed in cold blood in Sahiwal tragedy

“An FIR was registered as per demand of the victims’ families against the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) officials. The officials or officers who ordered this operation would soon be brought to justice and nobody would be spared,” he added.

Identification parade postponed

The identification parade of the police officials involved in Sahiwal incident has once again been postponed owing to absence of the complainant. “It has been rescheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) as the complainant did not turn up,” a member of the JIT told The Express Tribune.

It was the second time the parade has been rescheduled. It could not be conducted on Monday too. The JIT kept on recording statements of the eyewitnesses on Tuesday. Advocate Azhar Siddque told The Express Tribune that identification parade is important in connecting the accused with the offence.

“It is meant to establish that the accused were present on the spot when the offence was committed.  There have been many cases in which the identification parade was not performed and the court set aside punishments,” he added.

“In specific case of Sahiwal, however, it is not going to serve the purpose as no one including the complainant was present on the spot. And, the suspects were covering their faces etc. The only witnesses are social media and mobile footage,” he added.

Siddique said identification in such a situation is going to help the accused. He called for establishing a judicial commission to probe the incident so that such shortcomings are covered up.

Sahiwal tragedy: CTD accused of 'pressuring' family to drop case

The complainants, brothers of the deceased Khaleel and Zeeshan, are in Islamabad to appear before a Senate standing committee. Earlier, the families had said they were being insulted as the president and Senate chairman invited them to Islamabad but later did not meet them.

On January 19, the CTD gunned down four persons including three members of a family in broad daylight at a main highway of Punjab, in what it termed intelligence based operation (IBO). Three minor children were also injured in the incident.

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