A new JIT to probe Model Town Case – Punjab govt
Supreme Court ordered the Punjab govt to form a new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the 2014 Model Town Incident.
On June 17, 2014, 14 people were killed and 100 others injured after police launched an assault on PAT supporters gathered outside the residence of Qadri in Model Town, Lahore under the instructions of Ex Punjab govt.
On Wednesday, a five-member Supreme Court bench wrapped up a petition requesting a new JIT to probe Model Town Case.
The larger bench constituted especially to debate a legal point comprising,
- Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar
- Justice AsifSaeedKhosa
- Justice Sheikh AzmatSaeed
- Justice Faisal Arab
- Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel
All the judges have decided to hold the hearing to determine whether a new JIT could be formed which is still pending.
Tahirul Qadri presenting his arguments:
Pakistan AwamiTehreek (PAT) chief TahirulQadri was among those who presented their arguments on the matter in court today.
“My lawyers are present for legal questions, I will only present facts before the court,” he said.
The Chief Justice remarked that no case is political for the court. He further ordered the lawyer behind the PAT chief to sit down.
Talking about the trial:
Qadri then said that the trial has now come back to zero. He added that after the new govt was elected and the larger bench constituted, the victims were more hopeful about the chances of an independent probe.
The trial of the accused persons is ongoing in the anti-terrorism court, he said. There is a trial on both the cases together, he added.
Asking about FIR:
Justice Khosa asked, “What FIR was the JIT formed on the basis of?“ Justice Khosa asked.
Qadri responded that the police first formed the JIT on their own FIR. Later it was formed on our FIR. The judicial commission gave its findings on the matter too.
The commission report:
A few months ago, a commission report was made public. It brought a lot of facts to light, the PAT chief said.
He told the chief justice that of the 157 witnesses in the case, 23 had recorded their statements already.
Pointing out again:
“It is important to take an overview of the situation before the incident as well, to know why it happened, “Qadri pointed out.
The PAT chief was of the opinion that the requirements of an independent investigation were not met.
He recalled that the FIR was only registered after the party protested for two months. No statements from victims, PAT, the Punjab IGP or any relevant secretary were recorded.
Objections over investigation:
Qadri questioned, “Can it even be called an investigation? If all people are presented before the JIT, then the investigation can be better.“
“Did you raise your objections over the members of the JIT?” the chief justice asked.
Qadri responded that he had written to the police chief numerous times expressing his objections over the JIT.
“The court needs to assess whether the JIT was independent or not,” Justice Nisar said.
Nawaz Sharif’s Lawyer:
To Chief Justice’s statement, Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer chimed in, reminding the court that it included members of agencies.
The judge said, “You should have approached this court earlier. Instead, you paralyzed everything along with the court, through your protests.”
Justice Nisar told Qadri that the people you used to go to are not bigger than the court. You did not approach the appropriate legal authorities.The court’s doors have always been open. You went to those who had no ties to the case.
Qadri in court:
Qadri told the court that the removal of barriers was used as a pretext for halting PAT’s political campaign.
“We did not receive any notice regarding the removal of barriers,” the PAT chief said, adding that they were erected on court orders and removed the same way.
“Your point has been noted,” Justice AzmatSaeed told Qadri.
Asking about the formation of new JIT:
The court after hearing Qadri’s arguments asked the Punjab Advocate General Ahmed Awais what the Punjab Govt’s stance on the formation of a new JIT was.
Awais responded that the Punjab Govt had no objections to the reconstitution of a JIT.
“If there are no objections, then get to work,” the chief justice directed.
Justice Khosa said that the court needs to determine whether such a JIT can be made or not.
The Existing JIT:
The Punjab govt has already formed a JIT in the case, whether people are satisfied with it is another matter altogether.
The law says that if the govt deems it appropriate then it can form a JIT. We will have to see whether the court can also make a JIT, Justice Khosa added.
The court subsequently ordered the Punjab govt to form a new JIT to conduct a fresh investigation. The court also directed to record the statements of remaining witnesses.
The court said, “The Punjab govt has adopted the clear stance that it has agreed to form a new JIT. The probe team would be formed under Section 19 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.”
What else the court noted?
Wrapping up the petition, the court noted that through this move, the aim of the petitioner will be fulfilled.
Qadri thanked the bench:
While speaking to the media after the hearing, Qadri thanked the bench for the decision. He said that all five judges had heard his arguments with great interest.
“We are convinced that a JIT must be made and Punjab govt had no reservations over the formation of a new JIT to conduct a fresh probe,” Qadri said.
Also check: Dawn