LAHORE: Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Rehman Malik on Saturday refuted claims of police officials that the families of those killed in the alleged Sahiwal encounter were called to Islamabad by the committee and not President Arif Alvi or Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.
In a series of tweets, Malik said, “I would like to inform that the victim families were not issued notice for the meeting held yesterday. The victim family / local councillors will be issued notices for meeting next week.”
“Local MNAs and MPAS will attend the meeting as special invitees to give their input,” he added.
The chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior continued, “I hope and request to avoid disinformation. It is on the agenda of the committee to give hearing to the victim and the office is already processing the notices to be sent to them and the Senate is also arranging transport for the members of the family from Lahore to Islamabad.”
“Nobody dare hinder their presence in the SSC meeting once legal formalities are done and notices are issued. The families will have the opportunity to express their views before the committee very soon,” Malik said.
Earlier today, confusion surrounded the reported meeting between families of the deceased Khalil and Zeeshan with President Alvi and Senate Chairman Sanjrani.
Police had claimed that they brought the families of the deceased from Lahore to Islamabad on the directives of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior. Meanwhile, the spokespersons for the President House and Senate chairman had denied scheduling meetings with the families.
On Friday, Jalil, the brother of Khalil who along with his wife and teenage daughter was killed in an alleged encounter in Sahiwal on January 19, lamented he and his family were called to meet President Arif Alvi in Islamabad, however, after hours of waiting they were told the president is out of town.
According to Jalil, he and his family were taken by the police to Islamabad to meet President Alvi and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. However, upon arrival and after hours of waiting they were told that the president and Senate chairman were out of the city.
“If the president did not want to meet us, why did he ask us to come?” Jalil asked while speaking to the media in Lahore.
“The police recorded our statements all night long and then we went around the city all day. Later we came to know that the president was in Karachi while the Senate chairman had gone to Balochistan,” Jalil said.
He further said a mockery was being made of them.
Meanwhile, the lawyer of Khalil’s family, Shehbaz Bukhari, said, “I am giving seven days to the joint investigative team (JIT) to present a report or we will take the case to the court.”
Senate committee summoned families: police
However, earlier today, police officials said, “The families of Khalil and Zeshan had been summoned by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior and the police brought them to Islamabad.” A letter from the Senate committee in this regard is present, they further said.
“Khalil and Zeeshan’s families were present inside the Senate building but the committee members did not meet them. Police never bring anyone on the directives of the president or Senate chairman,” the officials added.
“If anyone is summoned by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, then police officials accompany them,” they added.
President House, Senate direct probe into ‘meeting’
Further, the spokespersons for the President House and Senate orejected reports of calling and scheduling a meeting between President Alvi and Senate chairman with the families of Khalil and Zeeshan.
“No meeting was set up with deceased’s family,” the President House spokesperson said.
“The Punjab government has been tasked with investigating who brought the family to Islamabad,” the spokesperson added.
The Senate spokesperson also rejected the family’s claims of a scheduled meeting with Sanjrani and said, “The chairman did not call the family nor did we receive any request from them to meet him.”
“We will ask the Punjab government for a clarification regarding this matter and apologise to the affected family if they faced any trouble,” the Senate spokesperson added.
On January 19, four people — including three members of the Khalil family — were killed in an alleged encounter in Sahiwal. Counter Terrorism Department personnel said they had killed a local commander of militant organisation Daesh and three others in the operation.
LHC summons JIT members
The Lahore High Court on January 24 summoned members of the JIT on February 4, who have been tasked with probing the alleged Sahiwal encounter which led to the killing of four people.
During the hearing Inspector General Punjab police, Amjad Javed Saleemi told the court the investigation will take 30 days to complete.
Moreover, LHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan formed a two-member bench for the hearing of the case and summoned members of the JIT at the next hearing.