The police have registered an FIR against activists of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek for Tuesday’s deadly clash outside the Central Secretariat of Minhajul Quran International in the Model Town neighbourhood as another injured succumbed to his injuries taking the death toll to nine.
According to the three-page FIR – a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, the police blamed the PAT workers and leadership for the deadly melee outside the residence of Dr Tahirul Qadri. Hussain Mohiuddin, son of Dr Qadri, has been nominated as the main accused in the FIR lodged on the complaint of Faisal Town SHO Rizwan Qadir Hashmi.
Other accused include the PAT General Secretary Khurram Nawaz Gandapur, Chief Security Officer Altaf Hussain Shah and other office-bearers of the party. Eight unidentified gunmen and 3,000-plus activists of the PAT have also been nominated in the FIR.
Meanwhile several police officials were accused of trying to tamper with the medical records of the injured at the Jinnah Hospital where most of the injured from Tuesday’s clash are admitted for treatment.
Media persons and relatives of the injured found SP Tariq Aziz – who has been made Officer on Special Duty (OSD) – and other police officials present inside the office of Medical Superintendent Dr Abdul Rauf.
The police officials had locked the office from inside, prompting the relatives to force the door open. SP Aziz claimed that he was there to obtain medico-legal certificates (MLC) of the policemen injured in the clash. Dr Rauf endorsed the police officials.
However, the fact that the door was locked during the meeting between the MS and the police officials led many to suspect the latter were trying to tamper with medical records of the injured.
“No tampering took place but many thought so since the meeting took place behind closed doors,” another doctor told The Express Tribune.
He added, however, that the police officials may have wanted medical records of the injured policemen to show their injuries as being caused by bullets and not by blunt weapons. “This would help them establish their claim that PAT workers fired first and the policemen shot back in self defence.”
Dr Rauf rejected suggestions that any efforts to tamper with the records of either the injured PAT workers or policemen were made.
On the other hand, Sohail Tipu, another provincial government official, was seen exiting the hospital. When questioned, Tipu, who has served at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, claimed he was on a three-year leave and was only at the hospital to inquire about the health of an injured relative. CM Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the alleged tampering and ordered an inquiry.
Meanwhile, PM Nawaz Sharif expressed ‘deep sorrow and grief’ over the loss of lives in the Model Town tragedy. In a statement, he said a Lahore High Court commission has been constituted to fix responsibility for the incident, adding that legal action would be taken against those responsible.
Removal of barriers
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had ordered the removal of barriers from outside the Minhajul Quran Secretariat – a move that culminated in Tuesday’s tragedy – in a high-level meeting on Monday, officials privy to the development told The Express Tribune on Wednesday.
The meeting, held with the sole agenda of preventing Dr Tahirul Qadri from returning to Pakistan, was chaired by the law minister and attended by several officials from both the federal and Punjab governments.
According to participants of the meeting, its venue was kept confidential and no minutes were recorded.
“During the meeting, the law minister proposed the removal of the barriers from outside Qadri’s residence and the Minhajul Quran Secretariat,” one official said. “The AIG and Lahore commissioner opposed the suggestion, saying Qadri faced life threats and the government would be blamed for any untoward incident pertaining to the PAT chief,” he said. “But, the law minister still ordered the removal of barriers on a ‘trial basis’,” the official added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2014.