According to the details, the Supreme Court’s (SC) Lahore registry on Saturday issued notices to the Punjab government, Punjab advocate general and the prosecution department to submit responses on whether it is legally permissible to form a new joint investigation team (JIT) when a previous one has already submitted its report in the Model Town case.
A two-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing an appeal filed by a teenaged girl, Bisma, whose mother had been killed in the Model Town incident.
Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chief Tahirul Qadri was also in court for the hearing and requested that the top court constitute an impartial joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the incident.
Justice Nisar informed the PAT chief that on his request he has ordered the ATC to hear the case on a daily basis.Qadri said that the report released by the earlier JIT which had been formed by the previous Punjab government could not be trusted as members of the former administration were suspects in the case.
He claimed that his party’s witnesses could not appear before the JIT due to government pressure, and alleged that the JIT had recorded one-sided witness accounts and could not be called neutral.
The CJP asked him if it was legally possible to form a JIT when a previous one had already submitted a report. The PAT chief said that there was precedent of a JIT being formed more than once.The PAT chief also told the court that the prosecution lawyer had withdrawn himself from the case due to daily hearings, which were being held on the SC’s orders. He requested the bench to hold trial twice a week instead of hearing the case on a daily basis. The plea was accepted.
Further, the chief justice told Qadri, “Since your appeal was rejected in the Lahore High Court, you can file it in the Supreme Court.”
Directing the ATC to hear the case on a daily basis, the bench issued notices to the Punjab government, police and prosecution department.
At least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured in police action against Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers in Lahore’s Model Town area during an ‘anti-encroachment operation’ on June 17, 2014.
Model Town incident report:
The Punjab government, at the behest of the Lahore High Court, had made the report of the Model Town incident public on December 5, 2017.
The inquiry report, prepared by Justice Baqir Najfi commission, said that police tried to cover up the facts regarding who gave orders to open fire on protesters.
It adds that no legal opinion was sought from the Punjab advocate general prior to the start of the operation.The commission, in its report, also stated that on the ground, the standoff continued the whole night, resulting in minor injuries to police constables as well as PAT workers.
The commission observed: “The level of cooperation in digging out the truth is that no police official from top to bottom, whether actively participated in the operation or not, did utter a single word about the person under whose command the police resorted to firing upon the PAT workers.”
Further, in its conclusion, the commission said, “It is shocking to note that everyone has deliberately but unsuccessfully tried to cover each other from possible adverse legal effects.”