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Naya Pakistan: Police officers to face the court


News Analysis |

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted to probe Sahiwal Tragedy presented its initial report to the Chief Minister of Punjab on the eve of Tuesday in Lahore. Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat announced that according to the JIT report, the officers of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) were responsible for the killing of ‘innocent’ family members.

Mr. Basharat was addressing a press conference after a meeting that was held to review the JIT’s preliminary report when he said the government had decided to remove several officers of the CTD. AIG and DIG CTD have been reportedly removed from their posts. SSP and DSP CTD Sahiwal region have been suspended.

The Model Town tragedy made headlines across the world and the PML-N government was criticized and exposed for following a vested political agenda. 

“The AIG (Operations) has also been removed from his post and directed to report to the federal government,” the minister further said, adding that five CTD officials involved in the killing had been booked under Section 302 (of Pakistan Penal Code) and they would be tried in an anti-terrorism court.

On the matter of Zeeshan Javed, the fourth person killed in the operation, the JIT head sought some more time to collect facts. After the decision was announced by the law minister, citizens of social media appreciated the PTI’s government for its swift action against the culprits. It is worth noting that some analysts were equating the Sahiwal Tragedy with Model Town Massacre where men and women are publically killed.

What was Model Town Massacre?

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.

Read more: Sharifs in trouble as SC orders JIT formation in Model Town…

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.

The former ruling party did not want Dr. Qadari to lead a series of protests against the sitting government. It exposed the governance model of PML-N and their approach to the people of Pakistan.

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.

Is Sahiwal Tragedy the Same?

Experts and political commentators assert that Model Town Massacre and Sahiwal Tragedy cannot be equated. Since in the case of former the orders were issued by the Punjab government and no action was taken against those found involved. As far as the latter is concerned, it is done by the officers of the CTD and Punjab government has made it clear that culprits will be given an exemplary punishment. CM Punjab Mr. Usman Buzdar and PM Imran Khan have repeatedly maintained that the incident has caused great unrest in the country and actions will be taken to ensure nothing like this happens again in the future.

Read more: CTD kills four in suspicious encounter in Sahiwal

Moreover, as a matter of fact, in Model Town massacre there were political objectives behind the scene. The former ruling party did not want Dr. Qadari to lead a series of protests against the sitting government. It exposed the governance model of PML-N and their approach to the people of Pakistan. Unlike Model town, Sahiwal tragedy exposed the system and urged the rulers to fix it out; a system that has been in place for a decade of PML-N government and incumbent government in its first test has proven its ability and strict stance of accountability across the board.

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