- Govt gives no commitment on holding impartial probe into Model Town killings; fresh judicial commission to probe incident
Revolution-seeking cleric Dr Tahirul Qadri has finally struck a “face-saving” deal with the government, leading to an end to the 50-day anti-government sit-in on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad, Pakistan Today has learnt on good authority.
The agreement, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, states that Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) will call of the sit-in and the deal would be kept “confidential” and “shall not be shared with any third party or person except with mutual written agreement”.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal signed the agreement on behalf of the federal and Punjab governments while PAT President Dr Raheeq Abbasi signed it on behalf of the PAT chief.
“Qadri felt that he has been isolated by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s solo-flight to hold public gatherings across the country,” said a government source privy to the details of the pact, adding that the cleric thought it better to strike “a quiet, face-saving deal with the government”.
“This is the reason why Qadri allowed his followers to leave for their hometowns for Eidul Azha and also announced that he would be holding public rallies in other cities. This was the safest retreat for Qadri and he grabbed the opportunity,” said the source.
The pact makes no commitment to Qadri about an impartial probe into the Model Town massacre neither has the government committed to forming a follow-up judicial commission to investigate the matter afresh.
“This pact is nothing but a lollypop given by the government to the firebrand cleric who returned home empty-handed in 2013 as well,” said the source.
Per the agreement, the government agreed to withdraw all cases against PAT workers and leaders, including Qadri. The accused in all, except nine cases, would be cleared after a probe by a Joint Investigation Team (JIY) headed by an officer mutually agreed between both the parties.
“That the parties will create conducive environment for healthy political activities as guaranteed under the Constitution and Law; That the Party No.1 (the government) will withdraw all the cases registered in Islamabad and Punjab against leaders and workers of PAT in the wake of recent agitation except the following 9 (nine) cases,” states the agreement.
These nine cases will be investigated by a JIT composed of mutually agreed members and headed by a senior police officer.
A source said that these nine cases relate to terrorism, which under the law could not be withdrawn without a thorough investigation by the JIT.
“The JIT would be formed comprising a senior police officer nominated by the head of JIT; one police investigation officer i.e. SHO; one member from Intelligence Bureau; one member from either ISI or the MI. The persons involved in these nine cases will not be arrested during the investigation except with the permission of the head of the JIT as per requirement of law,” the document states.
Pakistan Today had reported two days ago that the two sides were in secret talks and an agreement was likely. A PAT spokesperson had then confirmed talks with the government but on Friday the spokesperson refused to confirm or deny that the party had reached an understanding with the government.