LAHORE  - Expressing serious concern over the performance of the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the Model Town tragedy, Justice Ali Baqar Najfi, who chairs the single-judge tribunal, directed it to complete investigation into the incident by employing different aspects.

Justice Najfi also observed that the JIT held five meetings, but failed to come up with any progress in the investigation.

Saif Murtaza, a deputy superintendent of police, who is also a member of JIT, appeared before the tribunal and submitted an interim report. The officer told the judge that the aggrieved party had not been cooperating with the team despite its several requests.

The judge expressed serious concern and asked the officer whether the IJT was facing any pressure from any quarter. The officer said there was no pressure and the team was working independently.

Later, a regular progress report was submitted before the tribunal on behalf of the IGP on which the tribunal directed the Punjab IGP to provide details about any action taken against police officials for their alleged involvement in the shooting outside Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Model Town.

Another police officer told the judge that 11 injured persons were given notices to appear before the tribunal, but they refused to do so while notices to other 23 injured persons could not be given because of incorrect addresses available with police. The tribunal reissued notices to them for July 9.

On the other hand, Additional Advocate General Hanif Khatana appeared before the tribunal and sought some time to reply to an application filed by Advocate Aftab Bajwa against the legal status of the tribunal. The judge asked the law officer to assist the tribunal on July 9.

During the proceedings, two locals appeared before the tribunal and said that PAT workers opened fire on police first. The tribunal, however, directed them to file their affidavits and written statements. The hearing was adjourned till Friday (today).

ATC GRANTS BAIL TO SIX PAT WORKERS

Anti-Terrorism Court on Thursday granted bail to six Pakistan Awami Tehrik workers accused of spreading panic in Shahdara Town after the Model Town tragedy took place on June 17.

The judge directed the accused to pay surety bonds worth Rs30,000 each. The accused told the judge they were protesting against the police cruelty on the PAT workers in Model Town, but the police arrested them and registered FIRs under Anti-Terrorism Act.

They said they were exercising their constitutional right to protest, but police registered cases against them on political grounds.

Meanwhile, a law officer told the court the accused were spreading fear and panic among the people, due to which they were booked under the act.

After hearing the arguments of both parties, the judge confirmed bail of the six PAT workers.