News Analysis |
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has fixed the date for the hearing of a petition against the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision to not summon former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in the Model Town killings case. Earlier on 26th September the LHC rejected the petition seeking the presence of Sharifs before the court.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmad and Justice Faisal Arab will hear the case. According to the sources, notices have been sent to all respondents, including the petitioner, in this regard.
Dr. Tahirul Qadri would not be allowed any opportunity to hold a long march from Rawalpindi to Lahore, as the latter planned to do on June 23, 2014.
It is worth mentioning here that a deadly clash took place on 17 June 2014 where several members of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) got killed by the indiscriminate use of force by the Punjab police. The Model Town tragedy made headlines across the world and the PML-N government was criticized and exposed for following a vested political agenda.
Later on, a commission was made under the supervision of a LHC serving judge. The commission submitted its report but the PML-N led government did not publish it. Ultimately, the Punjab government, at the behest of the LHC, had made the report of the Model Town incident public on December 5, 2017.
Justice Najafi reports that then Punjab Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sanaullah seems to have already decided on June 16, 2014 that Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr. Tahirul Qadri would not be allowed any opportunity to hold 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 Dr. 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 argues in the report.
Earlier on 26th September the LHC rejected the petition seeking the presence of Sharifs before the court.
Justice Najafi outlines four very important points in his findings:
- “The operation planned and designed under the chairmanship of the then law minister resulted in gruesome killings could have easily been avoided.”
- “The facts and circumstances of the bloodbath clearly show that the police officers actively participated in the massacre.”
- “The apathy and recklessness of all authorities in Punjab in the matter under hand created genuine doubts about their innocence.”
- “The actions of police of firing and severely beating the people on the crime scene is irrefutably suggestive that the police did exactly for which they were sent and gathered over there.”
Though Justice Najafi himself does not affix responsibility for the tragedy, he invites readers to review the facts and circumstances and “easily fix the responsibility of the unfortunate Minhajul Quran incident” themselves.
It is now to be seen how the apex court deals with the petition and decides the matter. It is, however, important to mention that the PAT leadership has already rejected the report and termed it as ‘doctored by the government’ for its face-saving.