Pakistan Today: New JIT for Minhaj killings yet PAT not satisfied
- Punjab govt forms second JIT for probe over MuQ Aug 28 FIR with Quetta CCPO as head joined by CIA DSP, CPO AIG and ISI, IB men
- PAT rejects JIT, says will not accept any team with Punjab Police in it as it was party in case
- PAT president shows mistrust over Quetta CCPO Cheema which hails from Punjab, presents Punjab CM’s resignation as party’s sole demand
After much impediments and hullabaloos over formation of a second Joint Investigation Team (JIT) based on the FIR lodged by Minhajul Quran (MuQ) on August 28, the Punjab government has finally formed a new investigation team. However, before this team starts work on Wednesday, the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has rejected it.
The new five-member JIT will be headed by Quetta CCPO Abdul Razzaq Cheema, AIG Discipline at CPO SSP Shehzad Akbar, CIA DSP Khalid Abubakar and one official each from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The team will probe the June 17 Model Town incident when a clash between police and MuQ workers left 14 people dead and over 90 injured.
An FIR of the incident was lodged by the police against MuQ activists on the same day the incident had taken place. However, a report on the complaint of MuQ administration was lodged two months after the incident, naming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, MNA Hamza Shahbaz, and 14 other high profile Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Last week, the Punjab government had formed a new JIT under CCPO Quetta Abdur Razzaq Cheema after negotiations with MuQ.
NO, SIR! THAT WON’T WORK:
However, the PAT has rejected the new JIT with PAT President Raheeq Abbasi saying that his party will not take part in the new JIT’s inquiry.
“The government agreed that the JIT head should be one who is trusted by PAT. We had informed the government that we will not trust any officer from the Punjab Police. Cheema, though serving in Baluchistan, hails from Punjab and is very close to the PML-N, while the other two police officers are serving in the Punjab Police, and are from the same province,” he said.
“Hence, an impartial inquiry under him is not possible. We cannot accept an investigation team constituted to safeguard the PML-N, and its leaders.”
He added that the Punjab Police stood accused in the case. “How could they be a part of the investigation while no one from PAT is part of it?”
Abbasi added that his party had no objections over Shahid Hayat, or any other person nominated by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) IG Nasir Durrani while claiming that the government had nominated an official from the IB unilaterally.
“One person from the ISI means nothing if the team is headed by a partial officer. All he can do is to write a dissent note at the end of the investigation, which was done in investigation report of the first JIT.”
The PAT leader said that his party now believes that an impartial inquiry is only possible if the Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif resigns from his post. “This [his resignation] is our sole demand now.”
“Police officers from Punjab, who are serving in Punjab police will never be able to summon Punjab CM or PM for interrogation and hence, the JIT would serve no purpose,” he added. “Therefore, the police officers should show moral courage and refuse to take part in new JIT’s investigation.”
On the other hand, a senior police officer requesting anonymity said that by utilising its ‘discretionary powers’ the police had already filed an FIR in such a way that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif have been spared from either joining the investigation or being immediately arrested.
The official, while citing court orders in the six-page FIR, said the police have maintained that “the registration of FIR against the petitioners (federal ministers) shall not prove their guilt till there is a decision by court of competent jurisdiction. It cannot be used as substantive piece of evidence against any accused unless proved in accordance with law.”