LAHORE - Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, heading a two-member bench of the Supreme Court, here yesterday issued notices to the Punjab government, the prosecution and the accused persons on a plea made by the PAT chairman for constitution of a new joint investigation team (JIT) on the Model Town incident.

As many as 14 workers of the PAT had lost their lives in the June 2014 incident allegedly at the hand of police while acting under instructions of the persons then in power.

The bench took up for hearing a plea of Bisma, a victim member of the incident, last day when the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) Chairman Dr Tahirul Qaadri came to the rostrum and pleaded for forming a new JIT on the incident as the one made previously gave partial and one sided findings after the same was set up by the accused persons themselves.

He contended that the report of that JIT was not expected to lead the case to a fair and impartial justice in the case as such a new team might be set up.

He said the JIT formed by the last rulers in the Punjab, got recorded one-sided evidence while the victims of the incident did not appear before the same due to pressure and threats from the then government.

Dr Tahirul Qadri revealed that the then JIT, that had been constituted in an FIR registered against their workers, also incorporated a dissenting note and sought quashing of the FIR but regrettably that dissenting note was not made part of record by the then government.

He also highlighted the brutal action of the police on the PAT workers on that ill-fated day when around 4000 workers were arrested and spot depicted the scene like “Qiyamat-e-Sughran”.

He said over 100 schools of Minhajul-Quran were bulldozed in addition to shops and houses that forced the children to sleep in their demolished houses. He said their workers were arrested whenever they tried to appear before the JIT.

He maintained that JIT had been constituted under the prveious government’s influence. He said there were 66 people who got bullet injuries but they were not given the opportunity to appear before the JIT.

Qadri further told the court that FIR was registered on their complaint only after they held a sit-in in Islamabad. He said around 1000 policemen took part in the Model Town carnage.

“We are here to address grievances of people,” the chief justice remarked.

The court asked Dr Qadri to satisfy it if law provided constitution of another JIT to replace the earlier one when a private complaint had also been filed before the court of law.

Dr Qadri in reply to this proposition, cited the example of Baldia inferno tragedy of Karachi, Zainab case of Kasur, etc. In these cases, he maintained, a new JIT was constituted to probe the incidents.

However, in order to satisfy itself whether a fresh JIT at this stage was warranted by the law, the court issued notices to the Punjab government, the prosecution and accused parties in the incident to obtain their point of view on the formation of new JIT.

According to an agency report, the court also directed the special anti-terrorism court Lahore to take up hearing of the case on day to day basis.

CJP orders ATC to hear Model Town case on daily basis

INP adds: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday directed an ATC to hear a case pertaining to the Model Town incident on daily basis.

Justice Nisar informed the PAT chief that on his request he had ordered the ATC to hear the case on daily basis.

Further, the chief justice told Qadri, “Since your appeal was rejected in the Lahore High Court, you can file it in the Supreme Court.”

Directing the ATC to hear the case on daily basis, the bench issued notices to the Punjab government, police and prosecution department.

The Punjab government, at the behest of the Lahore High Court, had made the report of the Model Town incident public on December 5, 2017.

The inquiry report, prepared by Justice Baqir Najfi commission, said that police tried to cover up the facts regarding who gave orders to open fire on protesters.

It added that no legal opinion was sought from the Punjab advocate general prior to the start of the operation.

The commission, in its report, also stated that on the ground, the standoff continued the whole night, resulting in minor injuries to police constables as well as PAT workers.

The commission observed: "The level of cooperation in digging out the truth is that no police official from top to bottom, whether actively participated in the operation or not, did utter a single word about the person under whose command the police resorted to firing upon the PAT workers."

Further, in its conclusion, the commission said, "It is shocking to note that everyone has deliberately but unsuccessfully tried to cover each other from possible adverse legal effects."