LAHORE: The Punjab government on Thursday reconstituted a new five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the 2014 Model Town incident.
The team will be headed by Inspector General of National Highways & Motorways Police (NH&MP) Allah Dino Khwaja.
The members of the committee included a representative of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Col Mohammad Attiqueuz Zaman, a representative of the Military Intelligence (MI) Lt Col Irfan Mirza, Deputy Director General Intelligence Bureau (IB) Mohammad Ahmed Kamal and Gilgit-Baltistan Police Headquarters DIG Qamar Raza Jiskoni.
The Punjab home department issued a notification to the effect on Thursday stating that the JIT head shall depute one of the members of the team for the purpose of submission of the report under section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898, as required under section 19 (1) of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
It was said to be the third JIT which was formed to investigate the Model Town incident in which as many as 14 workers of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek were killed and scores of others injured during the clash with the police.
The first [JIT] was headed by the then IGP Punjab Arif Mushtaq some 15 days after the Model Town incident.
Interestingly, the Punjab government took almost a month for the reconstitution of the new JIT to probe the incident in compliance with the order of the Supreme Court.
A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, had disposed of the Suo Motu notice on Dec 5 after the Punjab government apprised the bench that a new JIT was going to be formed to investigate the Model Town case.
Bisma Amjad, the daughter of Ms. Tanzila Amjad, who was killed on June 17, 2014, in Model Town police action, had submitted an application to the chief justice, seeking the formation of a new JIT to probe the killing of innocent workers of PAT and Idara Minhajul Quran.
Expressing distrust in the earlier [JIT] reports, PAT chief Dr. Tahirul Qadri had also made his appearance in the court on Dec 5 urging it for a new JIT saying that no progress has been made in the case.
The second five-member JIT formed on Nov 17, 2014, had conducted and finalized the investigation in May 2015, exonerating former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and former provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah from charges of ordering or abetting the police action.
It was headed by Quetta police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema and comprised ISI’s Col Ahmad Bilal, Intelligence Bureau’s Director Mohammad Ali, Senior Superintendent of Police Rana Shahzad Akbar and DSP Crime Investigation Agency Khalid Abu Bakr.
Meanwhile, the PAT chief welcomed the decision of reconstituting the JIT terming it a step towards the right direction to take the accused to the court of law.
“I think the martyrs of the Model Town incident got justice after the struggle of four and a half years,” read a statement of Dr. Tahirul Qadri issued on Thursday.
He said the main purpose of the struggle was that head of the new JIT should not be from the Punjab police.