Senate rejected JIT report Sahiwal incident
30 January, 2019
A legislative body of the Upper House of Parliament Tuesday rejected the joint investigation team (JIT) constituted to probe the Sahiwal incident and demanded a judicial inquiry into the killing of three innocent members of the same family and their friend in an alleged encounter by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).
On January 19, four people – including three members of the Khalil family – were killed in an alleged encounter in Sahiwal. The CTD at that time had claimed that they had killed a local commander of militant organisation Daesh and three others in the intelligence-based operation.
A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior was held in the Parliament House while Senator Rehman Malik in the chair. The relatives of the victims, including deceased Khalil’s brother and alleged killed terrorist Zeeshan’s mother, appeared before the parliamentary panel to record their statements.
The committee categorically rejected the JIT formed by the provincial government to probe the incident. “Why is government not appointing a judicial commission if it is within its power?” it asked. Zeeshan’s mother informed the committee that her son was not a terrorist. “Why wasn’t Zeeshan apprehended alive? If an Indian terrorist can be arrested alive then why not Zeeshan,” she questioned.
Rehman Malik said the committee took notice of the killings six hours after the incident. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Javed Abbasi, who is also part of the panel, said the police was involved in the entire matter. “We do not accept any investigation by police. How is it possible that the ones who committed the killings are the ones investigating the murder?” he asked, and urged that the investigation should be taken back from the police. “If the committee and Senate have rejected the JIT, then in what capacity is the JIT working?” he asked.
The PML-N senator criticized the provincial government and accused it of lying about the Sahiwal incident. To this, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Azam Swati replied that the government should not be blamed. Abbasi, however, stuck to his statements and said the government is involved in the Sahiwal killings.
PML-N’s Javed Abbasi and PTI’s Azam Swati also exchanged heated words during the meeting when the former referred to latter’s controversial statement over the incident. Abbasi said he didn’t accept the probe by the police as they were involved in the case. “The inquiry committee will definitely try to save the police personnel,” he asserted.
Talking to the media after the meeting, Malik said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, who also holds the portfolio of interior minister, to ‘answer the call of the nation’ and form a judicial commission to investigate the Sahiwal killings. He said that the interior minister had the authority to form such a commission.
Malik added that though the matter of the Sahiwal incident was already in court, the court will not begrudge the federal government for forming a judicial commission as the complainant of the case had approached the judiciary to demand the same. “It is better that you (interior minister) take the initiative (and form a judicial commission),” he said, and added that if the demand was not fulfilled, the matter will be raised in the House. The former interior minister also said that all parties had agreed over the demand of a judicial commission.
Speaking to media before leaving for Islamabad earlier in the day, Khalil’s brother Jalil said the statement by their lawyer regarding threats was in his personal capacity. He opined that it would have been better if a judicial commission was formed instead of the joint investigation team (JIT). “We are not satisfied with the JIT probe,” he said, adding that they have changed their lawyer after threats against the family.