LAHORE - Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Sardar Shamim Khan Monday directed the JIT head to produce before the court all the details of the investigation into the Sahiwal killings and of government steps being taken to form a judicial commission to probe the issue on 7th.

A two-member bench headed by the chief justice was hearing two petitions filed for the formation of a judicial commission on the Sahiwal incident. The chief justice asked about the name of the officer who issued order for the police encounter.

The court remarked that the federal government be informed that resolving the killings case is its responsibility. The chief justice also said that the federal government, not the court, has authority to form a judicial commission.

The government’s lawyer told the court that the JIT had collected all the evidence in the case and recorded all the statements. The court then asked about the evidence discovered. The court was then told that all the finding had been provided for the court in black and white.

“Tell me, who gave the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) officials an order to conduct the operation? Bring the record in which the CTD officer gave order for it,” the court ordered the JIT head. He also warned that if the record was tampered, everybody involved would have to face imprisonment.

“Don’t beat about the bush, just tell us the name of that officer,” the court inquired from the govt lawyer who replied that those conducted the Sahiwal operation were behind the bars while the SP who ordered the op had been suspended.

The victim family’s counsel Shehbaz Bukhari said that the CTD officials were threatening and intimidating the family and pressurising them to change their statements against the police personnel. He said that 16 people were involved in the case but only five had been arrested.

The chief justice expressed displeasure over the absence of the inspector general of Punjab police, and wondered why he had not turned up in spite of being summoned.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor said victim Khalil’s brother was called several times but he was unwilling to join the investigation the inquiry.

The JIT told the court that investigation was being conducted with the help of CCTV cameras’ footages and witnesses. The bench asked what the benefit of the CCTV footages was, if the investigators could not identify suspects through them.

One of the two petitions filed by Advocate Mian Asif Mahmood, Additional Attorney General Ch Ishtiaq A Khan represented the Federation of Pakistan while Additional IG (Establishment) and Head of JIT Syed Ijaz Hussain Shah and DIG(Operations) Jawad Ahmad Dogar appeared on behalf of IGP Punjab accompanied by other police officials.

The JIT head submitted a report pertaining to Sahiwal Incident and produced record of both the cases. He also produced a copy of direction issued from the IGP Punjab to the additional inspectors general of police, all regional police officers, deputy inspector general of police, all city police officers and district police officers in Punjab. He said that order of the court dated 24-01-2019 had been conveyed that no such type of callous act/killing by the police official would be repeated in future.

The chief justice directed the JIT head to collect all types of evidence produced before him by the relatives of deceased/injured persons and conduct investigation into the matter strictly on merits.  The chief justice also directed the JIT head to appear in person before the court along with record of both the cases on 07-02-2019.

In the other petition filed by victim Khalil’s brother ‘Muhammad Jaleel against the Federation of Pakistan etc., copy of the petition was handed over to Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Khalid who represented the Federation of Pakistan. He was also directed by the court to establish contact with the federal government and appraise the court on the next date of hearing what steps were being taken by the federal government for the constitution of Judicial Commission. Irfan Ahmad Walton, another petitioner has already submitted an application before Prime Minister Imran Khan on the subject.

In the Sahiwal incident, the CTD had murdered four people including a couple and their daughter and a friend besides injuring a teenage boy in a suspicious ‘encounter’ on GT Road near Sahiwal.

The victim Khalil’s brother pleaded that a false FIR was filed after the fake encounter to label the victims as terrorists. However, another FIR was launched against the police personnel following countrywide protests launched by the citizens against the brutal killings.

The facts had been distorted even in the second FIR s to give margin to killers to go scot free, he said. He pleaded that the accused involved in the killings were law enforcement agency’s high officials and the JIT made by the government could not ensure justice in the case. He also said various Punjab ministers had been changing their statements on the issue which strengthens the suspicion that they were in connivance with the accused or have ill-will pertaining to the dispensation of justice to the aggrieved family.