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Thursday Feb 28 2019
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Sahiwal’s JIT report: More of the same

Muhammad Jalil, Khalil's brother.

The family of Muhammad Khalil, the man shot and killed by the counter-terrorism officials in Punjab, is not satisfied with the results of the state’s investigation.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), appointed by the Punjab government, completed its month-long probe, last week. On February 23, a 15-page summary of the report was shown to the lawyer representing Khalil’s family.

“We are a 100 per cent not satisfied with the report,” Ehtesham Amir-ud-din, the lawyer, told The report holds only six officers of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) responsible for shooting in cold-blood four people, including a teenage girl. While, the first police report named 16 officers, who were involved in the operation. “It only puts the liability on the six officers, who were on the spot,” the lawyer adds, “The investigators say that no officer of a high-rank ordered them to carry out the operation.”

Areeba, the teenage girl killed by CTD officers. Her four-year-old sister in the background.

On January 19, Khalil, his wife and 13-year-old daughter were gunned down outside Lahore, Punjab, by CTD policemen. Zeeshan, 28, who was driving the car was also killed. Videos of Khalil’s three surviving minor children were circulated on the social media triggering a public outcry. Soon after, the Punjab government formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising of members of the police and intelligence agencies to probe what was seen as a case of extrajudicial killing.

Now that team has completed its findings, a detailed version of the inquiry will be presented in the Lahore High Court (LHC) in March.

Since the JIT was formed, the family has repeatedly rejected its composition. They complain that it comprises of the same organisations involved in the killing. Instead, Zeeshan and Khalil’s family have asked the Court to order an investigation headed by the judiciary. “We have not seen the detailed [JIT] report as yet, neither have we been provided a copy,” Muhammad Jalil, Khalil’s brother, tells, “But our one and only demand is a judicial commission be formed.”

The final report, says the family’s lawyer, has many discrepancies and reaches no conclusion about the killing. It seems to only reproduce the state’s version of the events.

Zeeshan was a terrorist associated with the militant group, Daesh, while Khalil and his family were innocent, the reports reiterates.

It further places the blame of shooting the family on a Sub-Inspector (SI), a low-level police officer. “As per their findings, the Deputy Superintendent of the Police (DSP) was in touch with the SI. He ordered the SI to check the car and remain careful,” Amir-ud-din explains, “But the DSP never gave the orders to kill the people in the car.” Strangely, the reports say that the SI was solely leading the operation.

Whoever was responsible, says Khalil’s family, they should be punished. “What kind of training do CTD officers get that they shoot without checking or verifying information?” asks Jalil.

It is unclear why a copy of the report has not been made public as yet. Shahbaz Gill, the spokesperson of Punjab’s chief minister, could not be reached for comment.

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