Home South Asia Pakistan Sahiwal Tragedy: PM orders Punjab Government to Appeal against Verdict

Sahiwal Tragedy: PM orders Punjab Government to Appeal against Verdict

Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered an appeal against the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) verdict that acquitted all six accused CTD officials involved in the Sahiwal encounter case.

Sahiwal

Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting, on Friday, said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered the Punjab government to file an appeal against the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) verdict on the Sahiwal encounter case.

In a tweet, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister said that the Premier has also directed the Punjab government to launch an investigation against the shortcomings and flaws of the prosecution in presenting the case.

PM Appeals Sahiwal Verdict

Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the Punjab government to appeal the verdict of the court in the Sahiwal incident. He also ordered an investigation into the weaknesses and flaws of the prosecution leading the case.”

The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister added, “The entire nation saw the video of the parents being shot in front of their children. The government is determined to provide justice to these innocent children.”

Dr. Firdous also stated that if the victim’s family is unwilling to become a claimant in the case, the government will become the claimant and file the appeal.

The verdict of the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), which had ordered the acquittal of all six accused CTD officials due to lack of sufficient evidence. The suspected CTD officers include Nasir, Husnain, Saifullah, Ramzan, Ahsan Khan and Safdar Hussain.

In January 2019, four individuals, including a woman and a minor, were shot dead by the CTD officials while travelling on GT Road, near the Sahiwal Toll Plaza. The CTD officials claimed to have shot four “terrorists” affiliated with Da’ish in an intelligence-based operation. The incident was witnessed by three children of the murdered couple, Umair, Muneeba and Hadia, who were present in the car and also sustained grave injuries.

Read more: Benefit of Doubt: Six CTD Officials Acquitted in Sahiwal Encounter Case

The CTD officials maintained that the passengers in the car had opened fire on the officials who were attempting to intercept the vehicle and a motorcycle on GT Road. The CTS officials claimed that the murdered, including Khalil and Zeeshan, were allegedly associated with the kidnapping of former Premier Yousaf Raza Gillani’s son and a US citizen.

Eyewitnesses of the incident denied the claims made by the CTD officials, and stated that the people in the car did not fire at them. They said, “No weapons were discovered with the bodies.” They added that the children traveling in the vehicle claimed that the police had murdered their parents.

The eyewitnesses added, “After the firing incident, the CTD personnel left the children at the petrol station, where they interacted with us. After a few minutes, the CTD officials came back and took the children to an unspecified location.”

The court ordered a judicial inquiry into the Sahiwal “encounter” and directed the session judge to conclude the investigation as early as possible

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar took immediate notice of the incident. Inspector General Amjad Javed Saleem was directed to establish a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) consisting of officers from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Military Intelligence (MI), which held the law-enforcement agency personnel responsible for the incident.

On the directions of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, the officials suspected for the murders were arrested, and a FIR was launched against 16 people with Khaleel’s brother Jaleel as the claimant under section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997.

Moreover, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had established a special bench, and IG Punjab was summoned to launch an investigation in the shooting incident. The LHC judge expressed his dissatisfaction and questioned who gave police the authority to open fire at civilians.

Read more: CTD kills four in suspicious encounter in Sahiwal

The court ordered a judicial inquiry into the Sahiwal “encounter” and directed the session judge to conclude the investigation as early as possible.

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