LHC orders judicial inquiry into Sahiwal killings


–CJ orders Sahiwal sessions judge to appoint magistrate for probe, submit report within a month


LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered a judicial inquiry by a local magistrate in the Sahiwal killings case, directing the sessions judge to appoint a magistrate for the probe and submit its findings within a month.

Four people, including three members of a family and the car’s driver, were killed in an alleged encounter in Sahiwal on January 19. Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel claimed they had killed a local commander of Islamic State or Daesh and three others in the operation. However, eyewitnesses and three children, whose parents were killed, disputed the claim.

The incident sparked a national outcry and prompted the PM to order an investigation into the killings.

The directives were issued on Thursday as the court heard a petition filed by Jalil, the brother of Khalil who was among those killed in the alleged CTD encounter. LHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan directed the Sahiwal sessions judge to appoint a magistrate for the inquiry.

Talking to a private media outlet, Ehtisham Ameerud din, the counsel for the victims’ families said that a judicial inquiry has been ordered at a local level but the families demand a judicial commission. He asserted that after the written orders are issued, the decision might be challenged in the Supreme Court in case of any dissatisfaction.

Jalil was quoted as saying on local media that the inquiry will be held by the sessions judge in Sahiwal to record the statements of the eyewitnesses, which had not been done by a joint investigation team (JIT) formed earlier to probe the incident.

This came up in the hearing as the state lawyer told the court that statements of seven eyewitnesses have been recorded. When asked if the JIT has recorded the accounts of the witnesses on the list, JIT chief Ijaz Shah could not satisfy the bench.

The judge then remarked that a notice could be issued contending that Shah defied his duties. The hearing was then adjourned for two weeks.