Another JIT

The Sahiwal tragedy raises serious questions over the performance of Punjab Police and all such law enforcement agencies. Amid the gruesome accident, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) is alleging that the slain people were terrorists. The reason why such a claim is being discarded by the public is because a woman and 13 year old girl were also in the same car. One of the surviving children is a maverick. The kid says that they were going to attend a wedding.

The Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan Imran Khan has already constituted a Joint Investigation Team (JIT), a setup he thinks of as the solution for every social, political ill the country is suffering from. We shall wait for the findings of yet another JIT. It is highly likely that the findings of the JIT will question the operational methodology of the law enforcement agencies. Can the conclusions of the upcoming JIT deliver justice to the orphan kids? The Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab Usman Buzdar went to meet the family and the PM has ensured that the state will be responsible for the children.

While inquiry is underway, there is a strong need to reevaluate the operation of the law enforcement agencies. The Sahiwal incident shows that the recommendations of the committee that was constituted after the murder of a 10-year-kid Amal have fallen on deaf ears. Not so long ago, one of the editorials in this paper urged the police chiefs of all the provinces to restructure the police departments in the light of the suggestions of that committee.

The war on terror has led to the abuse of human rights of people. It is this reluctance of the law enforcement agencies to change their working style that such tragic incidents are happening. With the invasion of digital media, such news do make it to the mainstream and we have witnessed its proof in the form of protests in both Sahiwal and Lahore in this particular incident.

The Inspector General (IG) Punjab Police should ensure that no institutional biases taint the investigation. Furthermore, this editorial demands that the JIT report be made public once the government receives it. The government needs to work on its CTD and police force. Also, the state needs to hold the sensitive agencies accountable for their poor performance. As long as the government does not acknowledge the loopholes in its tactics that it uses in dealing with terrorists and terror outfits, civilian lives will be lost.

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