The Model Town inquiry has come to an end and we await the report. The CM claimed in his affidavit that he ordered the police to retreat from the Minhajul Quran International (MQI) Secretariat to prevent any further clashes or worsened law and order situation as soon as he saw the incident on television. He later set out for Model town, where he had to meet a foreign delegation. He said that Rana Sanaullah had chaired a meeting on June 16 and agreed to remove the barricades outside the MQI, which was not to his knowledge. He chided the former Principal Secretary Tauqir Shah for not informing him of this. It is hard to imagine, that a man who is a notorious micro-manager of all business that ensues in Lahore, was clueless about the killing of over a dozen civilians at the order of his officials.

The amount of skirting around the issue has been remarkable. Earlier, Asad Ali Khan, Deputy Director ISI, appeared before the tribunal and submitted an analysis report. This was indeed a unique tribunal, where Sharif ordered the investigation and a single judge tribunal will give a verdict. One could argue that the CM should have enough respect for those dead and the tribunal, to give his statements in person, but the affidavit was delivered by Punjab Advocate General Hanif Khatana.

The thinking behind the way the government has handled the incident raises many questions. The opposition has been arguing for the past month that Sanaullah has been made the scapegoat so the CM can save face. When Sanaullah resigned, the CM was apologetically singing his praises, but now he has been categorically blamed for the incident. There is a clear attempt to create a legal separation between the CM and Shah and Sanaullah. It remains to be seen now, if Sanaullah will accept this quietly. If yes, has a deal been made that will reveal itself at a later time? Has the CM been advised to take the matter more seriously than he had been doing? Is this all for a theatre of political perception, or is there any truth at all to Sharif’s story? The lack of responsibility, accountability and truth twisting in the case has been shameful. The country is in tatters, and the ruling party just a machine producing weak excuses, and weak scapegoats, for its failures.