- Punjab CM says law minister, Principal Secretary told to resign to pave way for transparent enquiry into Minhaj murders
- Rana Sanaullah sends CM his resignation, offers himself for enquiry
- Shahbaz says he has never compromised on justice, had even put his own son-in-law behind bars
In a bid to contain the political fallout of a suspicious ‘anti-encroachment’ operation at the Tehreek Minhajul Quran (TMQ) Secretariat of Dr Tahirul Qadri four days ago in which over 12 people lost their lives and more than 90 others were seriously injured by personnel of the Lahore Police in a gun-and-baton attack, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday announced that he was removing his Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and Principal Secretary Dr Tauqir Shah to pave the way for a transparent enquiry into the tragedy.
The announcement at a press conference comes after massive outrage against the police crackdown on workers of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and TMQ on Tuesday.
The chief minister said that even though Sanaullah had performed his duties in an honest manner for 15 years, he has asked him to resign for the “sake of justice”. Shahbaz also said that he has asked for the resignation of his principal secretary, Dr Tauqir Shah. He said that Dr Tauqir Shah was like a younger brother to him but the decision had to be taken as a matter of principal.
Soon after Sharif’s announcement, news channels reported that Rana Sanaullah had sent his resignation to the Chief Minister’s Office and offered to present himself before the judicial enquiry commission to record his statement. Pakistan Today made repeated efforts to get Sanaullah’s comment on the development but the phone calls went unanswered. Sources told Pakistan Today that the chief minister was likely to appoint Education Minister Rana Mashood as the new law minister of the province.
Claiming that people who had died in the Model Town incident “were our own”, Shahbaz Sharif said that he had also ordered the arrest of police personnel who had opened fire on the protesters.
“If someone does not have faith in the judicial commission set up by the provincial government, they can request the Supreme Court to set up a judicial commission or take suo motu notice of the incident,” said the chief minister.
He said that he had tasked a ministerial delegation to visit the Minhaj Secretariat to condole the deaths of the PAT workers and also to convey his eagerness to visit the Secretariat for offering Fateha for the deceased, but the TMQ and PAT leadership had refused to meet them.
“I’ve worked tirelessly for the province and my services during floods and dengue outbreak are known to all. I’ve never allowed miscarriage of justice and have always stood between the affluent and poor as an iron wall,” Sharif said.
Stressing that he had never compromised on justice, the Punjab CM said that he had even put his own son-in-law behind bars over the bakery salesman torture incident in Lahore.
SHAHBAZ NOT IN THE LOOP:
On Thursday, Shahbaz Sharif had reportedly protested in a meeting of the PML-N leadership chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad that he was kept out of the loop about the operation around the Minhajul Quran Secretariat until TV channels started reporting on the clashes between police and PAT workers.
According to reports, Sharif told his elder brother and other party leaders that he first learned about the disturbance near the Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Model Town at 8:30am on Tuesday. The CM said that he immediately ordered police to disengage and then left to attend the oath-taking ceremony of the chief justice of the Lahore High Court. “During the ceremony I was informed that the situation was worsening. I again passed a message to police to back off. However, unfortunately police failed to implement my orders on time,” reports quoted the chief minister as telling the meeting participants.
Shahbaz Sharif said that no prior permission was sought from him for the operation, moreover the police had taken automatic weapons to the scene when there was no such need.
It was quite embarrassing for the younger Sharif, who over the years had earned a reputation of being a good administrator, to accept that such an important operation was planned, decided and carried out without his knowledge.
“I will not spare anybody found involved in this situation which resulted in the loss of innocent lives people,” reports quoted Shahbaz as telling his elder brother.