LAHORE: The first meeting of the second joint investigation team (JIT) constituted to probe the June 17 Model Town violence was held on Wednesday.
Quetta Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Abdul Razzaq Cheema chaired the meeting. It was decided that the team would inspect the area to collect evidence and record eye-witness accounts of the incident to ascertain facts. The investigators also decided to encourage Minhajul Quran officials to come forward and testify. It was decided that those alleged to be responsible for the violence including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would be directed to submit their replies to the team.
The team is composed of CCPO Cheema, SSP Shehzad Akbar, DSP Khalid Abu Bakr, Colonel Ahmad of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Muhammad Ali of the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The Minhajul Quran and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) have refused to recognise the JIT as satisfactory.
An FIR of the incident was registered on August 28 at the complaint of the Minhajul Quran International Secretariat director Jawad Hamid. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and the former Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had been nominated in the report.
PAT Punjab president Raheeq Abbasi had said the report was an attempt to provide those nominated with a ‘clean chit.’ He said the initiative had been taken to absolve those responsible for the incident. Abbasi said the party had not been taken into confidence regarding the constitution of the team. He said the PAT had not endorsed the nomination of CCPO Cheema to head the team. Abbasi said an impartial probe could not be carried out under him as he was from the Punjab and had close ties with the leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2014.