–CM says scrutiny of police personnel’s records already underway, will take around six months for its completion
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday directed Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to rid Punjab police of cops with tainted careers.
Instructing the chief minister on carrying out reforms in the police force, PM Imran directed him to scrutinise cops and identify those with a criminal background. “The provincial police department needs to be overhauled on an immediate basis,” he said.
Buzdar told the premier that scrutiny had already begun in the police department, adding it would take around six months for its completion.
PM Imran Khan on Jan 21 had promised reforms in Punjab police after the Sahiwal shootout that claimed four lives, including those of a couple and their teenage daughter. Vowing to award “exemplary punishment” to the cops responsible for the incident, the premier had said the grief and anger of the people were justified.
“I assure the nation that when I return from Qatar not only will the guilty be given exemplary punishment, but I will review the entire structure of Punjab police and start the process of reforming it,” he had tweeted.
Four people, including Khalil, his wife and daughter, were killed in a shady encounter involving the Punjab police’s Counter-Terror Department (CTD) on a highway in the Qadirabad area of Sahiwal district last week.
The deceased, which included Zeeshan – a neighbour of the unfortunate family – were labelled as terror suspects; however, the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the incident had found no links of Khalil’s family to terrorism, saying that CTD mishandled the situation.
“While the CTD has done a great job in the fight against terrorism, everyone must be accountable before the law,” the prime minister had stated, promising that as soon as a JIT report comes, swift action would be taken against those found responsible. “The govt’s priority is the protection of all its citizens.”
Addressing a press conference in Lahore alongside members of the cabinet, Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja said the CTD officials did not intend to “directly” harm deceased Khalil’s family, but ended up killing them as collateral damage while targeting Zeeshan.
Raja Basharat told reporters that for some time Zeeshan had links to a “dangerous network” of Daesh — Arabic acronym for the militant Islamic State group — and was working with them. He claimed that this network was responsible for the murder of intelligence officials in Multan, the kidnapping of former premier Yousuf Raza Gillani’s son, Ali Haider, and the murder of two police officials in Faisalabad.
The Sahiwal incident had sent shock waves across the country as one of the three surviving children who were witness to the episode denied the official version in a video that went viral on social media.