LHC seeks affidavits in Model Town JIT case

CJ says officials not complying with orders would face action

Our Correspondent July 04, 2020


A larger bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has granted the last opportunity to senior government officers for submitting their affidavits and sought a detailed report by September 9 on petitions challenging the Punjab government’s new joint investigation team (JIT) on the 2014 Model Town police firing incident.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan made clear on Friday that strict action would be taken against officials who would not comply with the court orders. The CJ sought the JIT reports and other relevant documents by the next date of hearing. The larger bench was hearing petitions filed by former Punjab police inspector Rizwan Qadir, constable Khurram Rafiq and others against the formation of the new JIT.

As the proceedings commenced, Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar sought adjournment on a plea that another petitioner’s counsel Zahid Bukhari was unwell. He argued that no adjournment had been sought during the past year by the petitioner’s side. Decide about the next hearing date to suit yourself, the CJ remarked.

The chief justice said the court had asked for the affidavits of the Punjab chief secretary and additional secretary home.

He made clear that the court would not let anyone mislead it and that was why it was asking for submission of the affidavits. Justice Malik Shehzad Ahmed Khan said the prosecutor general had not submitted a copy of that petition filed in the Supreme Court. Eight months had passed but a comprehensive report had not been prepared, he said. The petitioners had contended that according to the anti-terrorism laws the second JIT could not be formed regarding an incident.

They said trial was nearing its end and 86 of the 135 witnesses had recorded their statements.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2020.