LAHORE - Ignoring the refusal of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) to join the probe being conducted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) into the Model Town killing of 14 PAT workers, Punjab government will go ahead with the exercise to take the matter to its logical end.

The provincial government is in no mood to budge under the pressure or accept dictation from any corner over reconstitution of the investigation team, which is second after a prior team – formed following the gory incident on June 17 at the Idara Minhajul Quran Office at Modtel Town – had left certain things unaddressed.

The second JIT has been constituted to finish the probe after the first one had observed that many points involving killing of the PAT persons need to be looked into. The JIT comprises police officers and secret agencies personnel, but PAT is dissatisfied with it.

The joint chief of the Idara and the PAT Dr Tahirul Qadri has rejected the new team as he draws close connection of its head, Quetta CCPO Abdul Razzaq Cheema, with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, besides expressing reservations on its members.

The PAT, which has also called for publishing the report of the previous JIT, does not see justice meeting to victims. As a prerequisite, it demands removal of the CM who has been named along the prime minister, and federal and provincial minister as accused in the FIR registered on the direction the court. The authorities are reluctant to lay hand on the accused unless a prima facie case is established through the probe about their involvement in the killing.

However, the Punjab government does not find any fault with the second JIT and wants it to complete the investigation which was left in the middle by the last one. Talking to this scribe, Punjab government spokesman Zaeem Hussain Qadri said the JIT has set on the job so it will not stop the investigations. The team has called the PAT to get its version recorded so it should do it, he said while reposing confidence in the impartiality of the JIT and saying that it met the demand of the PAT which did not want any Punjab officer to be included therein.

When asked to respond to the PAT allegations that officials responsible for the Model Town are being given lucrative posts and one example is Dr Tauqeer Shah, who has been named for Ambassadorship, Qadri turned down the allegations and said Dr Shah was never named in the FIR as such he faced no embargo. When asked why not the LHC commission report and that of the JIT has been released officially so far when the PAT says the report has held the Punjab CM and others responsible for the killing, the spokesman said the probe has yet not concluded and it was sub-judice before the court which has stayed publication of the same.

Given this fact how can the government violate the court directions or publish the report which still was in the court awaiting final result, he posed. However he said the government will act accordingly after the investigation is complete and a report thereon prepared and given. To a question on the arrests made in the case, he said five of the nine police persons accused of killing the PAT workers were in jail and raids were on to round up the rest four.