KARACHI, December 5: The Model Town inquiry tribunal report, made public after three years, has blamed the government of Punjab, particularly Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah as well as the provincial police for the 2014 incident in which 14 supporters of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) were killed.
The inquiry tribunal, headed by Justice Ali Baqai Najafi of the Lahore High Court, had submitted the 132-page report in the same year but the Punjab government did not make it public.
The main question deliberated in the report is whether the Punjab
CM gave the order of ‘disengagement’ and why it was not communicated to those on the ground.
In his affidavit submitted to the tribunal, Shehbaz said that he had found out about the incident at 9:30am on June 17, and had given the order to ‘disengage forthwith’.
Dr Tauqir Hussian Shah, Shehbaz’s then secretary, in his affidavit said that the order to disengage was conveyed to the law minister and the home secretary, and that he was informed by them that the situation would be normalised.
However, neither Rana Sanaullah nor the Punjab home secretary mentioned the order of ‘disengagement’ in their written statements.
“During the period, I also received a call from the secretary to the CM who conveyed the CM’s concern regarding the ongoing stand-off and said that the matter should be resolved peacefully,” the report quoted the home secretary as saying.
The report also mentions the news conference of the Punjab CM after the incident on June 17, in which Shehbaz did not mention that he gave the order of ‘disengagement’.
“While putting all the facts and the circumstances in juxtaposition, it has become crystal clear that order of disengagement was not passed at all, rather position taken by the CM Punjab appears to be an afterthought defence…”, says the report.
The report says that Sanaullah chaired a high-level meeting on June 16 in which the decision to use force to remove encroachments and barriers set up by PAT supporters outside their Minhaj-ul-Quran office in the Model Town area of Lahore. Dr Shah consented on his behalf, according to the report.
On the midnight of June 16 and June 17, government officials and police started the operation, but they were met with resistance from PAT sympathisers. In retaliation, the police opened fire, resulting in 14 casualties as well as injuries to many others. – Agencies