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LHC has 14 days to wind up Model Town killing cases

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Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, ordered the Lahore High Court on Saturday to wrap up pending cases regarding 2014 Model Town killings in a span of 14 days. The top judge, who spends his weekend at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry, also ordered Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Aijaz Awan to hear pending cases related to the Model Town incident on a daily basis for which he also cancelled all of the ATC judge’s leaves.

The Model Town killings trial has been languishing before the ATC against police and civil administration officials for which a private complaint filed by Idara Minhaj ul Quran, a subsidiary of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek is also pending adjudication before the trial court.

The most effective protest staged by PAT was in Islamabad in August 2014 when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was also staging a sit-in at the D-chowk against rigging, calling for a probe into results of 4 constituencies.

The chief justice also ordered Punjab Advocate General Shakil ur Rehman to make Justice Baqar Najafi’s report on the Model Town incident — in which 14 people had been killed and 100 others were wounded – part of the court record, stirring concerns among the top guns of Punjab government. The CJP also ordered AG Punjab to submit the report to the august court by 4 pm on Saturday.

Though the Lahore High Court had been dealing the Model Town case, Justice Nisar had taken suomotu notice of the delay in proceedings on Sunday after meeting a delegation of the victims’ families at the Lahore registry.

Read more: Imran and Zardari to join PAT protest against Model Town massacre

The Model Town incident broke out on June 17, 2014, when the police launched an anti-encroachment drive outside the residence of PAT Dr.Tahir ul Qadri, however, it ended up killing 14 people and wounding 100 others. The incident has since been labeled as the Model Town tragedy owing to such toll which is rare in case of any anti encroachment operation.

Soon after the fiasco, a judicial commission was formed in 2014 for investigations which held the government responsible in its report citing that the police had acted on higher authorities’ orders. This report was authored by Justice Najafi, however, it was kept under the wraps for three years, till the Lahore High Court ordered the Punjab government to make it public in December last year.

The top judge, who spends his weekend at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry, also ordered Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Aijaz Awan to hear pending cases related to the Model Town incident on a daily basis for which he also cancelled all of the ATC judge’s leaves.

Though the Punjab government was reluctant to publicize the report and it also filed petitions to revert the orders, the Baqar Najafi report was finally made public according to which the then Punjab Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sana Ullah seemed to have already decided on June 16, 2014, that the PAT chief would not be allowed to lead a long march from Rawalpindi to Lahore, as the latter planned to do on June 23, 2014.

‘This single-minded determination of the minister to thwart Qadri’s political objectives ended up influencing the police’s heavy-handed strategy in dealing with the situation, which resulted in the needless loss of lives the very next day,’ Justice Najafi argued in the report.

Read more: PTI to join Qadri in Model Town massacre protest

Though Justice Najafi, after having investigated the crime did not pinpoint any individual, e, however, invited readers to review the facts and circumstances and “easily fix the responsibility of the unfortunate Minhajul Quran incident” themselves. Another damaging paragraph was regarding the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

“This tribunal has very carefully seen the CD of the first press conference of Chief Minister Punjab after the incident in which he did not specifically mention about his direction of disengagement. It has become crystal clear that order of disengagement was not passed at all, rather position taken by CM Punjab appears to be an afterthought defence not taken before the nation in the press conference,” says the report.

The Model Town incident broke out on June 17, 2014, when the police launched an anti-encroachment drive outside the residence of PAT Dr.Tahirul Qadri, however, it ended up killing 14 people and wounding 100 others.

The Najafi report also claimed that the operation planned and designed under the then Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah “could have easily been avoided” and that the “police officers actively participated in the massacre”. Let it be known that Dr Tahir Ul Qadri had been regularly staging protests and sit-ins calling upon senior military officials and judicial bigwigs to dispense justice.

Read more: Tahir ul Qadri holds press conference after Model Town report decision

The most effective protest staged by PAT was in Islamabad in August 2014 when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was also staging a sit-in at the D-chowk against rigging, calling for a probe into results of 4 constituencies.

The most recent protest staged by PAT was on January 17th when Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan showed up on the container of PAT and called for justice regarding the Model Town incident, however, in late January, PAT chairman Dr. Qadri left for Canada.


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