Punjab

Heirs of Sahiwal incident victims move SC for judicial commission

Heirs of victims of the Sahiwal fake encounter case on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court (SC) for the formation of a judicial commission to probe the cold-blooded murders of three members of the same family by Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel.
The petition submitted in the top court sought its intervention after the Lahore High Court refused to form a judicial commission to investigate the killings.
The petition stated that the federal government has the authority to form a judicial commission, while its formation can bring forward real facts of the incident. It added that the Inspector General (IG) Punjab Police was not authorised to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT), whereas, many pieces of evidence were removed by the CTD officials from the crime scene.
“JIT members had summoned the suspects for identification parade despite being well aware of the accused [responsible in the shootout]. Moreover, the JIT is not trustworthy as it has tried to provide maximum protection to the culprits,” the petition read.
It added that the Prime Minister [Imran Khan] had directed to bring forward truth through judicial inquiry [of Sahiwal incident] on April 10, whereas, the Senate’s Standing Committee [on interior] had also adopted a stance regarding the JIT for failing to find the constructs in the case.
The JIT, in its report, had stated nothing against the brutal murder of a family and government ministers had also changed their statements, it mentioned.
Moreover, it was also stated that the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed a sessions’ judge in Sahiwal to hold a judicial inquiry but it did not issue any verdict of the case.
It is pertinent to mention here that a LHC bench headed by Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan had approved the petition filed by Muhammad Jalil, brother of victim Khalil, on March 20 for holding a judicial inquiry through a commission into Sahiwal police encounter.
Four people, including two women, were killed in a shady encounter involving the Punjab police’s counter-terrorism department (CTD) on a highway in the Qadirabad area of Sahiwal district on Jan 19.
The Sahiwal incident sent shock waves across the country after one of the surviving children who witnessed the episode refuted the version of the CTD.
A child, Omair Khalil, in his initial statement, said his father offered money to the people in return for not shooting at their car.
The CTD had identified one of the deceased as Zeeshan. The department says he was wanted in several cases of crime, including the kidnapping of Ali Haider Gilani, the son of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, and several American citizens. It also says he was the deputy chief of a banned outfit.