After the Supreme Court issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Inspector General (IG) Punjab Faisal Shahkar, a first information report (FIR) of gun attack on PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan during the party’s long march was registered on Monday at City Police Station Wazirabad.
Prime suspect Naveed, who was arrested from the spot, has been nominated in the case registered under various charges including terrorism, murder, attempt to murder and planning to kill someone.
The FIR will be presented before the top court on Tuesday (today) in line with the Supreme Court’s orders.
Zubair Niazi, a relative of Imran Khan and general-secretary of PTI Lahore chapter, had lodged a complaint before the relevant station house officer (SHO) to register FIR against the prime minister, interior minister and a senior military officer named by Imran as suspects in the failed assassination attempt.
However, the FIR has been registered on the complaint of the sub-inspector police and the three top officials cited by the PTI chief have not been nominated in the case.
Reacting to the development, PTI Leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the party would only consider FIR legal if the names of the three high officials are included in it.
He added that they would deem FIR just a piece of paper if the top officials were not nominated in the FIR. “We will not accept any distortion in the names.”
In a tweet, PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi stated that the Punjab government had stopped the IG Punjab from registering the FIR against “unidentified” people.
“Stopped [IG Punjab] from [registering FIR] against unidentified persons.”
Last Thursday, the deposed premier suffered a bullet wound to his leg after a gunman opened fire on his container as he was leading the PTI’s “Haqeeqi Azadi March” in Wazirabad.
One person died in the incident, while several members of the PTI chairman’s close circle, including Senator Faisal Javed, former Sindh governor Imran Ismail, Ahmad Chattha and Imran Yousaf, were injured.
A suspect identified as Naveed was arrested from the crime scene. The suspect admitted to opening fire on the container but did not point out to anyone during the initial investigations.
He remained firm that he acted alone and claimed that a few speeches of Imran hurt his religious sentiments.
His mobile phone reportedly had those clips. Besides, speeches of a few religious scholars were also recovered from his mobile phone. The suspect said that he used to hear the speeches of the religious scholars.
The investigators and the federal government are adamant that the attacker acted alone. However, the PTI leadership including Imran said Naveed was only a pawn who executed the assassination plot hatched by three powerful personalities of the country.
Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court directed IG Punjab Faisal Shahkar to register FIR against the attack on the PTI chief in accordance with law and submit a report within 24 hours.
A five-judge larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial presided over the hearing.
“You are an honest and competent officer. The Supreme Court will assure you that no one will be allowed to interfere with your work. Give us the time and register an FIR. You need to go ahead,” the chief justice said.
Justice Bandial added, “We are not taking suo motu. If they are prolonging the matter then we will proceed in an earlier suo motu matter regarding the executive's interference in the criminal justice system."
Justice Bandial further stated that it was the apex court's responsibility to ensure that justice is done in accordance with law.
“We just want to assure that your work should not be interfered with,” the chief justice added.
Justice Bandial also told the IG that the provincial government’s “different view” could not stop police from a fair investigation and also asked the police officer to collect forensic evidence.
The apex court's chief justice stated that it was an assassination attempt on a national leader, adding that if the court is not satisfied with the police report, then a suo motu notice will be taken.
Earlier, Shahkar had told the bench that his view was different from the provincial government.
It is pertinent to note that Shahkar had requested for his services to be withdrawn from the Punjab government with "immediate effect" as a deadlock persisted over the registration of an FIR against an attack on the PTI chief.
In a letter to the provincial government, the IG Punjab said that he could no longer continue to serve his duties owing to "personal reasons" and requested to be placed at the disposal of the federal government.
However, sources told The Express Tribune that the federal government would most likely keep the appointment of a new Punjab IG on hold as the Centre was not in a haste to provide his replacement.
According to sources, IG Punjab had expressed reservations about the names being mentioned in the FIR which ultimately led to the deepening of rift between the IG and Punjab government and PTI.
PTI Senator Azam Swati also appeared before the bench during the hearing.
The CJP told him that his matter was being examined by the SC Human Rights (HR) cell.
While talking about the “private video” of him and his wife that was leaked, Swati said that the place in the video was not the SC rest house but the federal lodge in Quetta.
“Your grievance is very painful but the court is very careful before initiating suo motu notice. You are a senior senator. Be brave,” the CJP told Swati.
During the hearing, Justice Bandial said that the HR cell had also taken up the matter regarding the grievances of Arshad Sharif's mother, who penned a letter to the chief justice requesting him to form a high-level judicial commission to probe into her son’s death.
The court added that the cell had sought a report from the fact-finding team which returned from Kenya.
Meanwhile, the same bench had set aside registrar's office objections on a Constitution petition for the protection of police officers' tenure.
The counsel for the petitioner contended that eight IGs were changed during four years of tenure of the PTI Punjab government, which badly affected the law and order situation in the province. The bench asked registrar's office to list the matter before the bench for hearing.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah Khan on Monday challenged the PTI chairman to prove that he received four bullet wounds, saying that he will quit politics forever if he managed to do so.
Talking to journalists outside parliament, the interior minister said that the government was ready to be a part of the investigation of the attack on Imran.
He demanded that a fair medical check-up be performed on the former premier by an impartial medical board for investigation and verification on whether he received four bullet wounds or not.
Sanaullah said that the Pakistan Army is a disciplined institution and no one could deviate from the official policy of the institution and if someone dared to do so, they would have to face the consequences.
Regarding the extension of the army chief, he said that the statement of DG ISPR was sufficient.
He said the provincial government was instigating people to protest and the Punjab police were facilitating the protesters.
“Imran Khan took three names because he wants anarchy in the country,” Sanaullah said, adding that using the judiciary and the Pakistan Army for politics was devastating for the country.
"PTI has wasted enough time and it is too late for long march, however, the government is ready to receive them and had completed all arrangements by November 4," he further said.
With input from our correspondent in Islamabad
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