LAHORE  -   The Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice on Thursday directed district and sessions judge of Sahiwal to depute a magistrate for conducting judicial inquiry into Sahiwal killings, and sought a report within 30 days.

A two-member bench headed by LHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim took up the case for hearing in which joint investigation team (JIT) head Aijaz Shah, heirs of the victims and their lawyers appeared before the court. Muhammad Jaleel had filed the petition through Barrister Ehtishamuddin. In January, a shootout of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel had claimed lives of four people including three members of a family and a friend.

The chief justice inquired that what action had been taken so far. Giving a list, the court had issued orders that all should be summoned through phone call and their statements should be recorded. The court expressed its dismay that orders had not been abided by in letter and spirit.

The chief Justice asked Punjab’s additional IG, “Why a notice should not be issued to you for not implementing court orders?”

Meanwhile, the JIT head presented a progress report on the incident and informed the court that statements of seven eye-witnesses were recorded. To this, the bench sought an explanation about the list of witnesses provided by the LHC in the case. The chief justice remarked that the JIT had not bothered to record statements of the eye witnesses mentioned by the high court. The LHC top judge said, “Is this the way to obey court orders?”

Justice Sadaqat Ali, the other member of the bench, remarked that the way the JIT was working on the case was disappointing.

The JIT head informed the court that statements of eye witnesses namely Muhammad Jalil, Muhammad Jamil, Muhamad Afzaal, Umair Khalil and Dr Nadeem Abbas had been recorded under Section 161 CrPC. The JIT head also undertook that he would record statements of all witnesses to be produced before him till 5th March, the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, the additional attorney general for Federation of Pakistan produced copy of a letter issued by the Punjab Home Department.

“The perusal of aforesaid letter reveals that the government of the Punjab has not recommended constitution of a judicial commission for the time being till the report of JIT is received,” the LHC order said.  The order further said, “Keeping in view the importance of the matter, learned sessions judge Sahiwal is directed to depute some learned magistrate Section 30, for conducting judicial inquiry into Sahiwal Incident dated 19.01.2019 whereby Muhammad Khalil, Zeeshan, Nabeela Khalil and Areeba Khalil were killed whereas Muhammad Umair and Jazba Khalil were injured, allegedly at the hands of CTD officials. The concerned learned magistrate shall conclude the judicial inquiry within a period of 30 days.”