LAHORE - The Punjab government on Saturday filed an intra-court appeal in the Lahore High Court challenging the single bench order to publicise an inquiry report on Model Town killings.

A division bench comprising Justice Abdul Sami Khan and Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi will hear the appeal against the single bench.

The provincial government, through the home secretary, filed the appeal submitting that at least 8 petitions of similar nature were pending adjudication before a LHC full bench; therefore, a single bench had not powers to decide the same matter. The single bench should have referred the matter to the full bench, the secretary said.

He questioned the judgment of the single bench, saying it had held that proceedings before LHC inquiry commission were judicial in nature and ignored the fact that the Justice Baqir Najafi commission’s report “has no value and also does not count as evidence under the relevant law”. The commission’s findings were merely a fact finding exercise meant for facilitation of the executive, he further said. The home secretary submitted that the only purpose of the commission was to make recommendation to prevent happening of such incident in future and it was not mandated to fix criminal or civil responsibility on any one. The state itself appointed the commission for its own information while its proceedings were not to be shared with anyone else, he asserted.

According to the officer, the single bench did not address the legal question whether the LHC chief Justice was consultee of the provincial government for the appointment of inquiry tribunal under Punjab Tribunals of Inquiry Ordinance 1969.

The petitioner requested the court to set aside the single bench’s decision of Sept 21. A full bench of the LHC will take up all petitions related to Model Town incident on Monday.

Twenty victim families of the Model Town incident, meanwhile, moved a contempt petition before the Lahore High Court. They said that the home secretary despite the clear order of the court did not give them the inquiry report.