LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday again sought reply from the government and extended the suspension order regarding the notification issued for the appointment of a new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the 2014 Model Town killings incident.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan and consisting of Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan and Justice Alia Neelum also sought a reply from the Punjab government and the Minhahjul Quran till April 11, 2019. The government’s representative and the counsel of Minhajul Quran earlier sought a two-week time to file reply in the case. Nevertheless, the bench observed that it was the government’s responsibility to assist the court but it was seeking more time to file its reply instead.

Inspector Rizwan and constable Khurram Rafique had filed the petition in the LHC against constitution of the new JIT in the Model Town killings case pleading that the Supreme Court had given no order about the formation of new JIT.

On March 22, the three-member bench had restrained the new JIT from working after hearing the applications challenging the JIT’s formation. On the court’s order, the investigation team formed in January this year was stopped from continuing its work.

Court extends suspension order of new JIT

During the last hearing, heated words were exchanged between Punjab Advocate General Ahmad Awais and the three-member bench.

The advocate general had expressed annoyance that he had not been notified ahead of the hearing and the Punjab government had not been given an opportunity to be heard before the verdict was announced.

Awais was not present in the courtroom when the judgment was reserved by the bench but he was present at the time the verdict was announced,

During the yesterday’s hearing, the advocate general Punjab said that whatever happened in the case wasn’t the contempt of court. He said that he respect the court to the core of his heart while the court asked him to submit his statement in black and white.

The LHC sought reply from the federal government, the government of Punjab and JIT members in the case.

The Punjab government will now file a reply and the counsel for the province and the petitioners will advance their arguments before the bench. Afterwards, a final verdict will be announced by the court.

On June 17, 2014, at least 14 Pakistan Awami Tehreek workers were killed and 100 others wounded when the police opened fire to disperse the protesting people.

It happened in an anti-encroachment operation outside the residence of PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.