Opp tells PM, Punjab CM to step down over Sahiwal killings


–Imran Khan demanded my resignation over Model Town incident, recalls Opp Leader Shehbaz

–Qureshi advises opposition parties to avoid politicking over human tragedy

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday demanded of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to step down over the Sahiwal tragedy in which four people, including a minor girl, were gunned down during Counter Terrorism Department’s (CTD) encounter.

Addressing a point of order during the National Assembly session, Shehbaz said, “[PM] Imran Khan demanded my resignation over Model Town incident … and now he should resign on Sahiwal tragedy.”

The former Punjab CM claimed that the current chief minister needed prior permission before performing every task.

Responding to opposition leader’s verbal attack, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the government had decided to act against those involved in the incident after launching a swift investigation into it. He advised the opposition parties to refrain from politicking over an incident of human tragedy.

He said prompt action has been taken against the police officers concerned by removing them from their positions.

The foreign minister said FIR has also been registered against the officers involved in the encounter and their case will be taken up by an anti-terrorism court.

He said unlike the previous governments, the PTI did not protect the officers who abused power.

Earlier in the day, while addressing a news conference outside the Parliament House in Islamabad, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders termed the ‘interim’ JIT report on Sahiwal incident a “serious joke with the nation”.

Speaking on the occasion, PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah, Rana Tanveer Hussain and Marriyum Aurangzeb rejected the joint investigation team formed by the government and said that no one was named in the FIR lodged over the incident. They added that Punjab was being controlled from Bani Gala.

On Saturday, three members of a family were killed during a shootout between the CTD and suspected terrorists near Sahiwal. Khalil, a grocer in Kot Lakhpat, Lahore, his wife Nabeela, their 13-year-old daughter, and their neighbour, Zeeshan, were on their way to a wedding in Burewala when they were killed in firing on their car near the toll plaza on GT Road in the Qadirabad area.

The Punjab government had consequently sacked officials of the CTD, including additional inspector general (AIG), deputy inspector general (DIG), senior superintendent of police (SSP) and deputy superintendent of police (DSP), after the preliminary report of the JIT found them responsible for the Sahiwal encounter.