ISLAMABAD - Two senior officers of the Punjab government Friday gave conflicting remarks about Zeeshan Javed, one of the deceased killed by CTD police in Sahiwal shooting, about his alleged involvement in terror activities.

Punjab Home Secretary Fazeel Asghar and the province’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Amjad Javed Saleemi gave contradictory statements about Zeeshan’s links with terrorism while testifying before the Senate Standing Committee on Interior.

The committee was summoned for a briefing of senior officers over the Sahiwal tragedy in which Punjab Police’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) had killed four people including three family members in an anti-terrorism operation last week. A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of Punjab government later declared that three family members had no links with terrorism.

Punjab Home Secretary first told the committee, which met in the chair of Senator Rehman Malik, that Zeehan Javed was a terrorist and was the real target of CTD. He said that CTD officials had no idea about two passengers, mother and daughter, sitting on the rear seats as they weren’t visible because of luggage placed on the rear side of the vehicle.

On the other side, Punjab police chief in his briefing to the committee gave the opposite remarks and said that some operational evidence indicates about Zeeshan having links with a terrorist organisation but concrete evidence against him has yet to be searched out. “JIT has been tasked to collect concrete evidence against the deceased,” he added.  He suggested that this was not the appropriate stage to debate this incident as JIT has to give its final report yet. “We will identify lacunas on this killing incident once the final report will be submitted and we will not hush up the case,” he said. He said the police would ensure investigation from every aspect as it had already registered a case and taken those CTD officials into custody who were part of this operation. I can say many things about incident but at this stage it will tantamount to open a Pandora’s box, he said and requested the committee not to debate this issue at this stage as investigations could be compromised by this way. The IG conceded that the Sahiwal incident has dealt a very serious blow to the CTD and has put it under huge pressure.

The IGP at one stage during his briefing snubbed Senator Kalsoom Parveen over her remarks that the way incident happened and the way it was being interpreted is a joke. “We are facing the menace of terrorism and you are saying it a joke,” the police chief adding that this was not acceptable. He told the senator that her words were not appropriate. Later, Senator Perveen said that she would move a privilege motion against the police chief for his insulting remarks against her.

Senator Rehman Malik endorsed the view point of police chief that JIT report should be waited for. However, PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi confronted the chair and said that Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice had already rejected the JIT and why the committee summoned to discuss its initial report. “We consider that the formation of JIT was an effort to cover up the case. It is not good to wait for the final report of JIT,” the senator who is the chairman of law committee said. We have to push our demand for judicial commission, he asserted.

However, Senator Malik did not entertain his objection and said that his dissenting note would be made part of the proceedings. He asked the IG Police to submit the complete report to the committee within a month once the investigation is completed by JIT.

The chair said that this committee would thoroughly monitor all the investigation regarding this case and would continue to guide the JIT. He asserted that Lahore High Court was examining this case and they should wait for its decision regarding formation of judicial commission for investigation. He told the meeting that affected family, MNAs and MPAs from Sahiwal will be invited in the meeting for a hearing.

Secretary Interior Major (Retd) Azam Suleman Khan said that JIT should be given some time for completion of investigations as it was observing the evidences collected by the police.

Senator Rehman Malik said that the Committee had a view that there should be a separate law regarding police encounters to ensure law enforcement agencies to stop to become self-judge, prosecutor, executor on the spot. The Law Ministry should propose a comprehensive bill which to discourage a culture of killing the suspects in the police custody, he said.

The chair said that Sahiwal incident was a dark scar on the face of police which needs to be cleared with impartial investigation and this committee would thoroughly examine the report and would recommend its own directions after final report is submitted.