Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday submitted his statement before the tribunal probing the Model Town incident in which more than a dozen Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) activists were killed in clashes with police on June 17.
Representing the Punjab chief minister, Advocate General (AG) Punjab Hanif Khatana read the affidavit before the inquiry tribunal headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najfi, who later made it a part of the tribunal’s record.
In the statement, the chief minister said that he had ordered police to retreat when he had come to know through a television channel that the situation might worsen outside Minhajul Quran, where a large number of PAT workers and police contingents had come face to face at the time.
“I was at the Governor House in a swearing-in ceremony of the Lahore High Court Chief Justice,” the chief minister said, adding that later when he went to Model Town to meet a foreign delegate, he was told during the meeting that some people had lost their lives while some were severely injured in clashes with police.
Shahbaz said when he came to know about the tragedy, he removed his principal secretary Dr Tauqir Shah for keeping him unaware about the incident.
The chief minister also claimed he was kept unaware of a meeting, held under the chair of then law minister Rana Sanaullah, regarding the removal of barriers outside the Minhajul Quran Secretariat.
Following the incident, he said he removed senior police officials including the CCPO, DIG Operations, and SP Model Town from their offices and ordered better treatment of the injured persons.
“I also constituted a Joint Investigation Team and requested the court for constitution of an Inquiry tribunal for impartial investigation into the matter,” he said.
During the proceedings, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Deputy Director Asad Ali Khan placed on record the analysis report excepts for certain cell phone numbers issued by the Warid Telecom.
As the company had incorrectly sent the cell phone data of July 16-17 instead of June 16-17, the tribunal issued notice to it to immediately send the cell phone data of the required date so that it might reach the Tribunal the same day (Saturday).
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2014.