Sahiwal killings: Lahore High Court summons JIT members

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court summoned members of the joint investigation team (JIT) on February 4, who have been tasked with probing the Sahiwal encounter which lead to the killing of four people.

On January 19, four people — including three members of a family — were killed in an alleged encounter in Sahiwal. Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel said they had killed a local commander of militant organisation Daesh and three others in the operation. Eyewitnesses, however, disputed the claim and said the people in the car did not fire at officials, nor were any explosives recovered from the vehicle.

The dead included a man, his wife and their teenage daughter.

During the hearing, LHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan asked Punjab Inspector General (IG) Amjad Javed Saleemi, how far along was the investigation was into the incident.

To this, the petitioner’s lawyers told the court that statements of all the witness have not been recorded.

“How was the police allowed to fire,” the chief justice asked the IG. To this, the inspector general told the court that those responsible have been arrested and a JIT has been formed to probe the incident. “CTD officials involved in the incident have been suspended.”

When asked how long the investigation will take, the IG Saleemi said the investigation will take 30 days to complete.

Moreover, the chief justice told the petitioner that the provincial government does not have the power to form a judicial commission, the federal government does. To this the petitioner replied, a request by the federal government has been submitted.

Furthermore, the judge formed a two-member bench for the hearing of the case and summoned members of JIT at the next hearing. The court also warned that an incident like this should not happen again and that all district police officers should be made aware.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said if the need arises, the formation of a judicial commission on the Sahiwal killings could be considered. Stating that the incident was being probed by JIT, the premier assured that the findings would be shared with the nation.