LAHORE - An officer of the Elite police force told the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), probing into the Model Town tragedy, that Lahore SP (Security) Salman Ali Khan had ordered the cops to open fire on the protesting workers of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).
The Elite Police Force in-charge, Abdur Rauf, appeared before the JIT to record his statement on Friday. He alleged that Khan had ordered the security personnel to shoot at legs of the protesters, as the situation was getting out of control.
Initially, the policemen were reluctant to open the fire on the protesters, but later they had to follow the orders and the fired more than 200 bullets on the protesters. After receiving the order from the SP, Sabzazar SHO Sheikh Amir Saleem and other Elite Force personnel fired shots at demonstrators that resulted in several deaths, he explained to the JIT.
Sources privy to the development have said that further investigations are underway in the light of the statements recorded by Abdul Rauf and other policemen. The JIT has already interviewed more than one hundred policemen who took part in the “bloody operation.”
The JIT took into custody at least nine policemen including SHO Sabzazar police station and eight personnel of the Elite Police force on Wednesday. A police spokesperson said that SHO Sabzazar Amir Saleem and In-charge Elite police Muhammad Rauf were being questioned in connection with the killings.
The Punjab government had formed the JIT, comprising intelligence personnel and police officers, to probe into the Model Town tragedy. The clashes between the riot police and workers of Pakistan Awami Tehrik had left at least 14 persons shot dead including two women on June 17.
The clashes erupted as the police tried to remove the barriers installed out the PAT secretariat in Model Town. Police had fired shots and tear gas to disperse the protesters while the PAT workers pelted the cops with stones. No less than 80 PAT activists and 40 policemen were also wounded during the violent clashes.