ISLAMABAD: A key witness in the high-level Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) inquiry report into the plot to kill the Lahore High Court Chief Justice, Khawaja Mohammad Sharif, has alleged that he was given death threats by his superior officers so that he would admit to being the person who wrote a faulty intelligence report that claimed that there was a plot to kill the LHC CJ.
Sub-inspector Special Branch Punjab Police, Shakil Hassan, made this shocking disclosure before the FIA inquiry committee and gave details of the threats issued to him. He said that he was also offered a promotion to the post of DSP, a plot of land and also treatment for the cancer he was suffering, including a medical trip abroad if he cooperated.
In his nine-page statement, Sub Inspector Hassan has said that top Punjab police officials had alternated between trying to bribe him and threaten him into accepting that he was indeed the person who wrote the intelligence report.
Shakeel accused Special Branch Director (R&A), Shahid Mahmood, of offering him bribes and at the same time issuing threats, in case he did not fall in line and subsequently accept responsibility in the name of protecting his officers. He also stated that the Punjab government “might be behind the whole story.”
SI Shakeel, in his statement attached with the inquiry report which was submitted to the prime minister and the chief justice, accused Additional AIG Punjab Special Branch, Retired Colonel Ehsanul Rehman, DIG Mushtaq Sukhera, SP Naveed Elahi, SP Azmat Gondal of pressurising him. He claimed that they had become his enemies after he had refused to become a scapegoat on the issue of the faulty intelligence report. The statement of SI Shakeel gives some idea of the drama that was staged in Punjab in the name of an intelligence report into a plot to kill the CJ of the LHC.
The inquiry was held in light of a story that appeared in daily The News on September 11 in which allegations were levelled against some federal officials of plotting to kill the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court. Subsequently, an FIA inquiry commission was instituted into the matter. Investigations took an interesting twist when Punjab Special Branch SI Shakeel Hassan suddenly appeared before the inquiry commission and wished to record his supplementary statement, though he was not invited by the inquiry team.
The first thing SI Shakeel told Director FIA Zafar Ahmad Qureshi, who was conducting the inquiry, was that his life was in a danger, as his superiors might eliminate him in case he did not confess before the committee that he was the source of this intelligence report. Shakeel accused Shahid Mahmood of manipulating the whole drama of the intelligence report.
SI Shakeel revealed on October 10, he got a phone call which instructed him to reach Police Club where two other constables, Azam and Ejaz, were already present. DIG Mushtaq Sukhera, Nameem Bharwana, SP Naveed Elahi and SP Azmat Gondal were at the club. Both constables were interviewed but he was not called inside.
One of the constables told SI Shakeel that the officers had matched their hand writing with the intelligence report which was actually given to him on a piece of paper by Special Branch Director (R&A) Shahid Mahmood to reproduce on another sheet of paper. He revealed to Shakeel that actually Mahmood had given him notes to write in clean Urdu and this was what he did. Now they were being put under pressure to accept that they had actually written the report. Both the constables told Shakeel that they were being framed.
SI Shakeel revealed that Mahmood summoned him and told him to accept that he had written the report. Shakeel said he was told that he needed to understand that the heads of the department were always like parents, and “if the parents were in trouble, it was the duty of their children to bail them out.”
Mahmood told Shakeel that he should not be afraid of anyone as the “high command” was behind him. “I know you are being wronged but I would help you to clear your name at some later stage. You will be given 5 marla official house under construction in Mohinewal scheme. You will also get a plot, and a house and we will fund it from our sources. You will be treated at Shaukat Khanam Hospital and sent abroad in return for accepting ownership of this report,” the report quoted Shakeel as telling about Mehmood.
Shakeel in his statement attached with the inquiry report said but he rejected all the offers and incentives and he was now under threat and if something happened to him, those five officers should be held responsible.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2010.