Model Town Massacre Report

The inquiry report of the Model Town massacre prepared by Justice Ali Baqar Najfi has been made public. The Punjab government made the report public by the website of its public relations directorate. The report has been divided into two parts; one highlights the statements and positions that each party has taken, and the other comprises of the order sheet. The Judicial Commission which was formed earlier based its result on the statements of government functionaries, police officials, administrative officials, and the Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif himself.

The report does not blatantly accuse any party of being responsible for the incident. However, it does point out instances where the situation could have been handled in a better manner. One such instance is the decision by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to not let the political objectives of Tahir ul Qadri materialise. This urge led to the authorities questioning the placement of barriers around Minhaaj ul Quran. Although their placement was illegal but it had remained such for over three years. They wanted to disperse the crowd with immediate effect, which then resulted in the needless loss of lives.

The government feared that making the report public would result in sectarian violence, as several people who were being thrashed were calling out Hazrat Ali (RA) to save them from the wrath of the police force. Even though the report has no legal value but it will go on to damage the political position of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N). Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah, has been clearly pointed out as the obvious reason behind the clash. Had the report been made public earlier, it would have lessened the pain of those families who were waiting for justice and hoping that someone would listen to their demands, and a lot of damage would have been prevented.

At this point, accommodating the dissenting voices should be of top priority. Families of the victims are demanding certified copies of the report. Such demands and the allegations of tempering the report should be dealt with seriously. The time to make amends is now and there should be no delay in ensuring that the families are satisfied with whatever action the authorities decide to take. Even if the authorities are not at fault, shying away from the victims and their families is not an intelligent option.

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