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Tuesday Mar 19 2019

Model Town JIT to record Nawaz’s statement at Kot Lakhpat jail on Wedensday

At least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured in police action against PAT workers in Lahore on June 17, 2014

LAHORE: The joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe the 2014 Model Town tragedy will record the statement of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the Kot Lakhpat jail on Wednesday.

The Punjab Home Department has allowed the JIT to record Nawaz Sharif’s statement at the prison and has issued a notification in this regard.

On Monday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and former chief minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif appeared before the JIT.

The JIT, formed by the Home Department of Punjab earlier this year to relaunch a fresh investigation into the tragedy, had summoned Shehbaz today to record his statement in the case.

The investigation team is headed by Inspector General (IG) Motorways AD Khawaja, and comprises Lt Colonel Mohammad Attique-uz-Zaman from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Lt Colonel Irfan Mirza from Military Intelligence (MI). Mohammad Ahmed Kamal, deputy director general of Intelligence Bureau (IB), and Qamar Raza, deputy inspector general (DIG) Police Headquarters Gilgit-Baltistan, are also part of the JIT.

At least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured in police action against PAT workers in Lahore on June 17, 2014. The then-Punjab government, at the behest of the Lahore High Court, made the report for the Model Town incident public on December 5, 2017.

Model Town report

The report, drafted by Justice (retd) Baqir Najfi-led commission, had termed the 2014 tragedy as the "most unfortunate incident" in the country's history. It said that police tried to cover up the facts regarding who gave orders to open fire on protesters.

The report added that no legal opinion was sought from the Punjab advocate general prior to the start of the operation.

The commission, in its report, 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."