LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has asked Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to resign “for fair inquiry” into the killings of PAT workers in Model Town. He has also removed his Principal Secretary Dr Tauqeer to “advance the cause of justice”.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday evening, visibly distraught Shahbaz Sharif announced in a rather emotional tone that he has asked his law minister to quit and has also removed the principal secretary. Rana’s resignation came through promptly.
The CM’s decision to remove his two closest aides apparently aims at easing the public tampers fraying over Tuesday’s brazen killings of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) activists at Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Lahore. By sacrificing his most trusted men, the CM understandably intends to comfort the charged-up feelings of PAT which is gathering political and public support each passing day ahead of June 23rd’s planned return of party chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri in Islamabad for another show of power.
The PAT leadership has dismissed the decision of CM as ‘quite insufficient’ and ‘a drama’. For Minhajul Quran administration, the CM’s decision only partially meets their demands, as they have been calling for the resignation of not only the law minister, police high-ups, other administrative officers and political persons but also of the CM. They blame all of them played a role in the killing of nine PAT workers.
Shahbaz said that Minhaj administration or anyone else could seek inquiry into the killings through a Supreme Court commission or the apex court can itself take a suo moto on the happening, if they don’t trust the judicial commission of the Lahore High Court appointed on his request.
The chief minister alienated himself from the killings of PAT workers and said it took place while he was “kept in the dark”. He said he is a cancer patient, how can he order killing of innocent persons.
Shahbaz, the younger brother of the prime minister, said his past is evident of the fact that he always stood by the poor and weak, and “the people shot dead on the sad day are his own citizens and people of the province”, so he is equally sad and grieved over this vital loss.
Without naming anyone, he also chided those (politicians) who he said were playing politics on dead bodies and are shedding crocodile tears to gain political mileage. He said for the sake of justice he had even handcuffed his son-in-law and this time round he would also go to any extent to meet the end of justice.
In a sombre voice, he said Rana Sanaullah and Tauqeer are like younger brothers. Rana , he said, has rendered very valuable services for the party over the last 15 years. But to meet the end of justice and fair inquiry, he has asked him to step down.
He said his decision is not under pressure but out of the fear that he is responsible to Allah Almighty to ensure fair administration of justice. It is very hard but sometimes such decisions have to be taken to ensure justice, he said, adding that he wanted justice should not only be done, it must also be seen to be done.
Shahbaz Sharif said the Minhajul Quran administration has expressed distrust in the Lahore High Court inquiry, therefore he offers anyone to get a judicial inquiry through the Supreme Court or the SC can itself take suo moto notice on the incident, and he would respect that inquiry and fully cooperate. He said he would not come to rest till justice is done.
To a question, the chief minister said he had formed delegation of the ministers to visit the Minhaj Secretariat to condole the deaths but a negative response was sent from the other side and in order to avert any displeasure, he preferred not to send the ministers. However, he said he would certainly visit the Minhaj Secretariat if the latter permitted him.
Shahbaz said his heart is bleeding over the incident as the killed ones are his own people. To a question, he said he would not talk politics but confine himself to the issue at hand, and he would expose all those who are speaking against him today when he would deal them on the political side.
The Punjab government has decided to appoint Rana Mashood Ahmad Khan as Law Minister Punjab following resignation of Rana Sanaullah Khan.
Rana Mashood has been senior lawer of the City and in the previous government of Shahbaz Sharif, he was the Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly.
Rana Mashood has also been the Secretary, Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA).