Shehbaz records statement before JIT in Model Town case

Published: March 19, 2019
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Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and former chief minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif recorded his statement before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigating the Model Town tragedy on Monday.

Shehbaz appeared before a five-member JIT headed by Inspector General of National Highways & Motorways Police (NH&MP) Allah Dino Khwaja that questioned Sharif for over 40 minutes.

Earlier, the PML-N president had submitted a written reply before the JIT which was dismissed and was asked to appear him in person.

He contended before the JIT that Model Town incident was not “pre-planned” and was a result of clashes between the protesters and police.

According to sources, the JIT asked Shehbaz critical questions of which one being the reason behind the transfer of then inspector general of police Balochistan Mushtaq Sukhera, a day before the incident.

The interrogation body also inquired him about his action after he came to know about the clashes between police and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers at 9.30 in the morning.

JIT questioned why being the chief minister he did not order police to stop firing and what action did he take if the police did not comply with his orders.

He was also asked the reason behind the deployment of police force outside Minhajul Quran two days after conveying a message to PAT leaders  Khuram Nawaz Gandapur and others asking Qadri to arrive to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, an officer on condition of anonymity said that Shehbaz could not satisfactorily reply to the team.

So far, the JIT has recorded the statements of PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah, Pervaiz Rasheed, Khawaja Asif and others. The statements of concerned police officials have also be documented.

The JIT had also sought permission from a court to record the statement of former premier Nawaz Sharif who is behind bars in a corruption case. The statement is to be recorded on Tuesday (today) from Kot Lakhpat jail but the chances are thin as the PML-N leader is having health issues.

Bisma Amjad, daughter of a woman who was killed in Model Town tragedy had filed a petition in the Human Rights Cell of the Supreme Court for the constitution of a high-powered independent JIT. A two-member bench headed by the former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar had heard Amjad’s plea and ordered the formation.

The Punjab government reconstituted a new five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in January which was headed by Inspector General of National Highways & Motorways Police (NH&MP) Allah Dino Khwaja.

The members of the committee included a representative of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Col Mohammad Attiqueuz Zaman, a representative of the Military Intelligence (MI) Lt Col Irfan Mirza, Deputy Director General Intelligence Bureau (IB) Mohammad Ahmed Kamal and Gilgit-Baltistan Police Headquarters DIG Qamar Raza Jiskoni.

The Model Town incident took place on June 17, 2014, in which 14 people were killed and 100 others injured after police launched an assault on PAT supporters gathered outside the residence of their party chief Muhammad Tahirul Qadri in Model Town, Lahore.

A subsequent judicial inquiry report on the incident pointed fingers at then Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah and the Punjab police for what had transpired that day.

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