SC constitutes larger bench to form new JIT for probe into Model Town case

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SC constitutes larger bench to form new JIT for probe into Model Town case

LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Monday constituted a larger bench for the formation of a new joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the Model Town case.
A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a petition at the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry seeking the formation of a new JIT to probe the case .
On Saturday, the SC while hearing the case in the Lahore Registry, had issued notices to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and 137 others nominated in a case lodged by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) regarding the 2014 Model Town incident.
During the hearing, PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri appeared before the bench and said, “Zero progress has been made in our case since former Punjab IG Mushtaq Sukhera was indicted.”
Qadri urged that a new JIT be formed to probe into the case again.
Meanwhile, former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif’s counsel, Azam Tarar, appeared on his behalf and sought more time from the court to prepare his arguments.
The court then formed a larger bench for the constitution of a new JIT to probe into the case.
The five-judge larger bench, including Justice Nisar and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, will hear the case from December 5. Further, the chief justice said the bench will include representatives from all provinces.
At least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured in police action against Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers in Lahore’s Model Town area during an ‘anti-encroachment operation’ on June 17, 2014.
The Punjab government, at the behest of the Lahore High Court, had made the report of the Model Town incident public on December 5, 2017.
The inquiry report, prepared by Justice Baqir Najfi commission, said that police tried to cover up the facts regarding who gave orders to open fire on protesters.
It adds that no legal opinion was sought from the Punjab advocate general prior to the start of the operation.
The commission, in its report, also stated that on the ground, the standoff continued the whole night, resulting in minor injuries to police constables as well as PAT workers.
The commission observed: “The level of cooperation in digging out the truth is that no police official from top to bottom, whether actively participated in the operation or not, did utter a single word about the person under whose command the police resorted to firing upon the PAT workers.”
Further, in its conclusion, the commission said, “It is shocking to note that everyone has deliberately but unsuccessfully tried to cover each other from possible adverse legal effects.”

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