LAHORE - After registering a case against over 3000 PAT activists, including son of Dr Tahirul Qadri, a high-level police team has begun the probe into Tuesday’s deadly clashes in Lahore.
Unfortunately, workers of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) – who are apparently the victims – have been booked on the charges of murder, attempted murder, and terrorism.
PAT chief’s son Hussain Mohyuddin has been nominated as the main accused in the three-page FIR, police sources said. PAT leader has already rejected the formation of judicial commission and police investigations.
Eight people including two women were shot dead and 80 were hospitalised, many of them with bullet wounds, as police went on the rampage and fired bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters outside PAT Secretariat in Model Town. Dozens of wounded are being treated at different public hospitals in Lahore. Condition of two was said to be serious.
The First Information Report (FIR) of the incident has put a big question mark on authenticity of police investigations since the state is complainant and victims are accused party. The case was registered on application of Faisal Town station house officer (SHO). The three-member investigation team headed by Punjab Additional IGP Sarmad Saeed visited crime scene Wednesday and recorded statements of policemen and eyewitnesses.
It was learnt that no one from the PAT appeared before the commission to record statements since they have declined to cooperate with government-appointed inquiry committee. “We will not bow down to government’s pressure tactics. We will resist and continue our struggle for green revolution,” lying on the hospital bed, a 45-year-old man said while flashing victory sign.
According to investigators, if the accused would not join police investigations, they would be declared as Proclaimed Offenders (POs). Police sources revealed that investigators collected circumstantial evidences from the locality and later reviewed the footages aired on TV channels to identify those responsible for the bloodshed.
Reportedly, some police officers rushed to the Jinnah Hospital on Wednesday to press the medical staff to temper with the medical reports of the injured. The doctors were being forced to show marks of other physical violence suffered by policemen as bullet injuries in the medical reports, a hospital official said requesting anonymity.
Police on Tuesday claimed that 30 cops were wounded during the clashes, and seven of them sustained bullet injuries. The protesters said that they pelted the police with stones and none of them was carrying guns.
Hospital sources also revealed that they were asked by police to add more names in the list of injured policemen. However, they said there was no police personnel currently admitted in the hospital, as they had been discharged Tuesday night because they had minor injuries.
It was learnt that Punjab IGP Mushtaq Sukhera suspended from service DSP Aftab Phularwan for visiting the hospital to obtain MLCs (medico legal certificates) from doctors under duress.
Meanwhile, the club-wielding man, who damaged windscreens of several vehicles outside the Minhaj-ul-Quran Secretariat, has been arrested. Police said that the TV footage helped them identify the miscreant.
Television footage had shown the man, identified as Gullu Butt, brandishing a club and smashing vehicles windscreens. Police are yet to identify and arrest a few other ‘plainclothesmen’ who were challenging the protesters in the presence of police contingents. Some policemen were caught on CCTV as they stormed merchant shops and fled after stealing money and goods during the operation.
Addressing a news conference through video-link from Canada, PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on Wednesday rejected the judicial commission and said no one from his party would record their statements or offer any other cooperation.
“In the presence of the current rulers, we will not accept any probing body. However, we will lodge official FIR in media presence,” he said, without giving any timeframe. He also appealed to the one-judge commission to distance itself from the proceedings.
Dr Qadri again pinned the responsibility of the tragic killings on the eight leaders he has already identified. They are: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif and some ministers, including Rana Sanaullah, Saad Rafiq, Ch Nisar and Abid Sher Ali. He also named IGP and DIG Operation.
He said the judicial commission was eyewash aimed to “provide cover to state-terrorism”. He said through media channels, everyone witnessed from where bullets were fired, adding that their guards did not fire a single bullet. Qadri said that bullets were fired upon his residence too and electricity connections to his house had been cut, which have not been restored as yet. The standby generator was broken as well.
He said officers who prepared the FIR were the same ones who were culprits. He said it was the right of victims to lodge FIR, but it was astonishing that the same was registered at the behest of “murderers”. He questioned if the inquiry commission would probe the incident even though the FIR had been lodged by the police.
Dr Qadri said police were now trying to temper the record at the hospitals and government was pressuring victim families and offering them millions of rupees for recording statements against PAT. He also disclosed that a number of people killed in the Tuesday incident were not members of PAT.
About allegations that PAT workers were having illegal weapons, he said if the police had really recovered illegal weapons, why they did not show those to the electronic media that had telecast the brutality live. He said if weapons were recovered, he would have banned the party. PAT chief said he was the biggest enemy of terrorism and he was the only scholar who gave a decree against the menace.