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Petition filed in SC to form judicial commission on Sahiwal incident

ISLAMABAD: Heirs of victims moved to the Supreme Court on Tuesday for the formation of a judicial commission to probe the brutal shootout by Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials in Sahiwal.

A petition submitted in the top court, a copy of which obtained by the News, seeking its intervention after the refusal of the high court to form a judicial commission against the cold-blooded killings by the security officials.

The federation, secretary interior, Punjab chief minister, chief secretary, Punjab home secretary, Inspector General (IG) Punjab Police and Additional Inspector General (AIG) CTD Punjab were made parties in the petition.

The petitioner stated that the federal government has the authority to form a judicial commission, while its formation can bring forward real facts of the incident.

It further added that the Inspector General (IG) Punjab Police was not authorised to form Joint Investigation Team (JIT), whereas, many evidences were removed by the CTD officials at the incident’s site.

“JIT members had summoned the suspects for identification parade despite being well aware of the accused [responsible in the shootout]. Moreover, the JIT is not trustworthy as it has tried to provide maximum protection to the culprits,” the petition read.

It added that the Prime Minister [Imran Khan] had directed to bring forward truth through judicial inquiry [of Sahiwal incident] on April 10, whereas, the Senate’s Standing Committee [on interior] had also adopted a stance regarding the JIT for failing to find the constructs in the case.

The JIT, in its report, had stated nothing against the brutal murder of a family and government ministers had also changed their statements, it mentioned.

Moreover, it was also stated that the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed sessions’ judge in Sahiwal to hold a judicial inquiry but it did not issue any verdict of the case.

The apex court was sought to intervene and order formation of a judicial commission to initiate a thorough investigation into Sahiwal incident.

It is pertinent to mention here that a Lahore High Court (LHC) bench headed by LHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan had approved the petition filed by Muhammad Jalil, brother of victim Khalil, on March 20 for holding a judicial inquiry through a commission into Sahiwal police encounter.

Alleged encounter

Four people, including two women, were killed in a shady encounter involving the Punjab police’s counter-terrorism department (CTD) on a highway in the Qadirabad area of Sahiwal district on Jan 19.

The Sahiwal incident sent shock waves across the country after one of the surviving children who witnessed the episode refuted the version of the CTD.

A child, Omair Khalil, in his initial statement, said his father offered money to the people in return for not shooting at their car.

The CTD had identified one of the deceased as Zeeshan. The department says he was wanted in several cases of crime, including the kidnapping of Ali Haider Gilani, the son of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, and several American citizens. It also says he was the deputy chief of a banned outfit.

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