LAHORE  - The First Information Report registered against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and others on the complaint of Minhajul Quran management has been merged into the earlier FIR of the Model Town incident with experts saying the status of the new case is no more than that of a ‘supplementary statement.’
“To me personally, there is a strong possibility that the FIR will be quashed within one month,” a former top police officer told The Nation, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
More interestingly, a police officer of the rank of Inspector has been tasked to investigate the case registered against the leading politicians and involving senior police officers. Also, it is not clear how a police inspector will be able to interrogate the big guns mentioned as accused in the report.
Virtually, the Punjab police have incorporated the first FIR into the second one by attaching 9 different sections of the law on the application filed by the Minhajul Quran management. Legal experts also say the second FIR registered after more than two months of the happening has no importance legally.
The officer, who served on key slots for years in the Punjab police, also reveals that an investigator has to record the statement of the complainant with 24 hours after registration of a case under section 161 to endorse the FIR. The courts rely on the first information report not on the afterthoughts.
“To record a statement under section 161 is time-barred and the time has elapsed since one party (the PAT) boycotted the process of investigations,” the officer said, adding, the chances are slim that the accused persons would be tried. For an instance, he further said, one accused is arrested only for one time in one case. “Look, how Gullu Butt could be arrested again in a similar case?” he argued. Similarly, the police officers arrested earlier could not be arrested again in the same case, he underlined.
As per analysis, the former top cop says, the second FIR is the version of the Minhajul Quran administration, which had boycotted the earlier proceedings. “That is an afterthought not the first information report,” he reiterated.
Well-informed sources disclosed to this scribe that the provincial government totally ignored the “dissent note” of two key members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) suggesting the panel to quash the case lodged against the PAT leaders and activists.
Instead of filing a simple case, the police have not only mentioned the first FIR in the contents of the 6-page second FIR but also noted the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC) and additional sessions’ judge in the report.
Following registration of two separate FIRs of a single incident, investigators have launched parallel probe to unearth the ‘untold facts’ into the Model Town clashes that left 14 persons shot dead on June 17.
“The Joint Investigation Team, constituted by the provincial home department, will investigate the first FIR (No 510/14 registered against the PAT leaders and activists on the application of police). The Faisal Town investigation police will probe the second FIR (696/14 lodged against PM, CM, ministers, and others on the application of Minhajul Quran administration),” police Inspector Ijaz Rashid told TheNation on Friday.
Rashid, who is in-charge of investigation at Faisal Town police station, has been designated to probe into the Model Town tragedy and submit the challan of the case to the court concerned. “We have launched the probe and I am trying to contact the complainant (to record statements and collect circumstantial evidences),” the police investigator said.
It is not clear yet whether the administrator of Minhajul Quran will appear before the investigation police at Faisal Town since the PAT chief has already rejected the FIR stating that section 7 of the anti-terrorism act is not applied in the report.
Interestingly, except section 7ATA of the law, almost same sections are applied in both the FIRs. The anti-terror law is applied in the FIR registered against the PAT workers and leaders but this section is not added in the crime report lodged on the complaint of Minhajul Quran administration.
“As per content of the application submitted by Muhammad Jawad Hamid, director Minhajul Quran, prima facie sections 302,324, 148, 149, 427, 506, 395, 109, PPC and 155-C Police Order 2002 are attached, please. (This is) signed by Lahore DSP Legal after approval of the DIG operations,” Inspector Sharif Sindhu, Faisal Town station house officer, writes in the second FIR. The case is being forwarded to the investigation team for further proceeding, he added.
Meanwhile, interim challan of the first FIR was submitted to the Special Anti-Terrorism Court on Friday. It was related to the four policemen who were arrested in connection with the Model Town incident.
After Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif is Pakistan’s second prime minister booked in a murder case on the charges of abetment.
The spokesman for the Punjab government has said that the FIR regarding the Model Town incident has been registered as per orders of the Lahore High Court under the sections mentioned in the petition filed by the Minhaj-ul-Quran director.
The spokesman said it was on record that in the application filed for the registration of the FIR about the Model Town incident no demand for applying terrorism sections was made. Therefore, as per application by the Minhaj-ul-Quran, the FIR has been registered under sections 302, 324, 109, 148, 149, 395, 506 and 427, he added.
It may be mentioned that, according to media reports, the lawyer of Minhaj-ul-Quran, Mansoor-ur-Rehman Afridi has also admitted that the case has been registered as per his request.