LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed removal of police and district administration officials named in the June 2014 Model Town case from their present postings.
As many as 125 police officers and district administration officers were named as accused in a private complaint filed by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) before an anti-terrorism court. Many of them were re-shuffled by the former Shahbaz Sharif government.
The prime minister contacted Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar by phone on Thursday and directed him to remove the accused officials from their current postings, asserting that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had promised in its election campaign to ensure justice to the victims of Model Town shooting.
Among the accused were former Lahore DCO Capt (retired) Muhammad Usman, former DIG (Operations) Rana Jabbar, former SPs Tariq Aziz and Abdul Raheem Shirazi. Capt Usman is currently serving as Punjab Food Authority DG, Tariq Aziz as SSP (Discipline), Lahore; Abdul Raheem Shirazi as SP CIA, while Rana Jabbar has gone abroad to attend a training course.
The prime minister had earlier in the day phoned PAT Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri in the wake of the Lahore High Court judgment and promised justice in the case. Later, he contacted the chief minister and asked him to remove all accused officials who are currently serving in Punjab.
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry says the prime minister also assured the PAT chief that the PTI government would support his party’s strategy in the Model Town tragedy.
Earlier on Thursday, PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri addressed a press conference and called the LHC’s rejection of revision appeals “slaughter of justice”.
Dr Qadri relied heavily on the dissenting note of Justice Qasim Khan and tried to build his case against the verdict. The PAT had approached the LHC against anti-terrorist court (ATC) denial to summon 12 bureaucrats and parliamentarians in the case.“By refusing to even summon them, the ATC made a mockery of justice while the LHC has only taken a cue from the same ATC, as put by the dissenting judge that the ATC ‘took the line of argument by the defence rather than the victim party’ rather than taking an independent view of the case.
“If that is going to be the case, the law of abetment should be removed from the law books. The PAT never said that the former chief minister or the home secretary or the inspector general of police themselves shot at the protesters. The PAT case is that all this happened under their nose and they allowed it to happen. The planners are never visible on the scene and share the responsibility. The PAT only wanted them to be called and quizzed, nothing more. If they are found innocent, they would naturally be set free. By refusing to call them, the courts have set them free of even being questioned for an incident, which cost 14 human lives and left over 100 injured.”
Dr Qadri also said the PAT would would now go to the Supreme Court with new lawyers.
(Ahmad Fraz Khan also contributed to this report)
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2018