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The Punjab Government has told the Lahore High Court that the families of the victims of the Model Town shooting misled the bench into giving a favorable decision regarding the Najfi report. While giving arguments in the appeal petition against the court’s order of releasing the Najfi report, counsel Khawaja Harris said the provincial government was not given an opportunity to file its written reply, especially on the issue as to whether the inquiry report was a judicial document.

The involvement of the government also looks more credible given the fact that in case of non-complicity, the PML-N would have found it politically advantageous to release the report

Harris said the petitioners approached the bench with unclean hands since they obfuscated the court. He said that the petitioners had fraudulently told single bench that the matter pending before the full bench was entirely different. The council asserted that justice was not done in the Lahore High Court last month’s verdict when a one-member bench comprising of Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi had ordained the Punjab Government to release the report.

Read more: Lahore High Court orders Punjab Govt: Release Justice Najfi report on…

While Harris was making his arguments on the procedural flaws in taking up and deciding upon the case last month, Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh adjourned further hearing till Oct 10. Advocate Harris’ stance was in-line with that of the Punjab government who has been attempting to hold the report at all costs.

Even without the report, it is beyond doubt that the police is a provincial subject and hence cannot fire on their own whims; even if they do, the responsibility lies with the Chief Executive of the province

The tragic events of 17th June 2014 cast serious aspersions on the Punjab Government. Footages depicted a grotesque story where the police were carrying out a duck-shoot which resulted in the demise of 14 unarmed members of the Pakistan Awaami Tehreek (PAT) including pregnant women. With the police being a provincial subject; the place being yards away from the house of Shahbaz Sharif and the fact that no government official paid a visit to the affectees, PAT attributed the daylight murders to the Punjab government especially Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah.

Rana justified the police action rather haughtily; he said that Dr. Qadri had instigated his disciples to defy the government. However, eyewitnesses and video footage presented a contrarian view to that given by Rana. He was removed from his position of Law Minister only to be reinstated.

Read more: Will Dr. Qadri achieve justice for Model Town victims?

The Judicial Commission headed by Justice Baqir Najfi gave serious findings on the involvement of the Punjab Government but the report has been hidden; the government has understandably refused to release the report with the accused Law Minister saying that it is the prerogative of the government.

The Judicial Commission headed by Justice Baqir Najfi gave serious findings on the involvement of the Punjab Government but the report has been hidden

The report compiled by Justice Baqir Ali Najfi of the Lahore High Court (LHC) directly holds Punjab government responsible for ‘bloodbath’ in Model Town area.

It was mentioned in the report that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had not ordained the police to ‘disengage’ from the clashes with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) supporters or hold fire for that matter, resulting in the deaths of at least 14 people and severe injuries to over 90 others.

Read more: Qadri adds to Sharifs’ misery: The Model Town Case is back…

The report says neither former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah nor former principal secretary to the chief minister, Dr. Tauqeer Shah, had mentioned in their affidavits to the commission that they had been directed by the chief minister to ‘disengage’ the police.

The Najfi Report is ostensibly being not released because it directly holds the top lawmakers of Punjab responsible for the carnage in Model Town. There is little to defend when unarmed civilians including women and children are shot down point-blank. The reticence to release the report raises further questions on what is being hidden.

Harris said the petitioners approached the bench with unclean hands since they obfuscated the court. He said that the petitioners had fraudulently told single bench that the matter pending before the full bench was entirely different

There is evident fear that if the report is released, it would do away with any likelihood of an escape for the Punjab government. Even without the report, it is beyond doubt that the police is a provincial subject and hence cannot fire on their own whims; even if they do, the responsibility lies with the Chief Executive of the province which in this case happens to be Shahbaz Sharif.

With this case being one of cold-blooded murders, the PML-N and the Sharif Family who are already beleaguered by corruption case cannot risk releasing the report. Perhaps, the deliberate attempts to stop the release are adding to voices who directly blame Shahbaz Sharif. Chairman of the Pakistan Awaami Tehreek (PAT), Dr. Tahir ul Qadri will ramp up his pressure on the PML-N. The involvement of the government also looks more credible given the fact that in case of non-complicity, the PML-N would have found it politically advantageous to release the report.

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