PAT chief says he has no faith in JIT formed by Punjab govt, asks Gen Sharif to fulfil promise of justice for Model Town firing victims
Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on Friday rejected a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Punjab government to investigate the June 17 killings in Lahore’s Model Town, and asked Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to “fulfil his promises which included resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif”.
Speaking to supporters in Lahore via video link from Toronto, Qadri refused to accept any JIT either formed under the Punjab police or without the resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
“If the prime minister had to form a JIT, he should have headed it himself and given himself a clean chit,” he said.
Rejecting the JIT formed by the government headed by Quetta police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema, the PAT chief said that would only accept a JIT from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa consisting of members from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and police.
“Cheema has personal relations with Sharifs and we do not accept a JIT under him,” he added.
The five-member JIT, headed by Cheema and comprising one member each from two security agencies and an SP and a DSP nominated by the Punjab IG, was notified by the Punjab government on Thursday about two and a half months after a sessions court ordered registration of a fresh FIR on a complaint of the PAT.
The cleric-turned-politician, who has been at the forefront of widespread anti-government protests by the opposition, also reminded Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif of what he claimed to be promises that he made in a meeting during an anti-government sit-in in Islamabad in protest against the Model Town incident.
“Army Chief Sahib! You had given your word on the resignation of Punjab CM. You had also promised transparent investigation into the Model Town tragedy,” he said. “When will the arrest warrants be issued for Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif?”
Qadri also claimed that his party registered the FIR of the Model Town incident at the army chief’s behest. “We now ask you to fulfill your promise of having justice served on the martyrs of Model Town,” he said.
The PAT chief warned that if justice is not served, the army might have to launch an operation across the country, warning that people could take up arms in revenge.
“The army chief should also launch Zarb-e-Adal in Lahore and Islamabad or God forbid the country could descend into anarchy.”
Party leaders say Qadri, who is currently in Canada apparently to reorganise his party and raise funds, will return to Pakistan on Nov 20 to lead a countrywide anti-government campaign.