Sahiwal Incident in which officials of Counter-Terrorism Department killed four persons including a 13-year-old girl on the suspicion of being terrorists, has turned into a spine-chilling nightmare for society. The incident raises questions about the rule of law in society, fake encounters and the responsible escaping punishment and the level of governance.
The episode that took place on January 19 near Sahiwal when the officials of counter terrorism department intercepted a car which harbored two men, two women and three children. They opened fire and riddled the vehicle with bullets. Initially, the CTD and the Punjab ministers claimed that the officials killed terrorists in a shoot-out. But, eyewitnesses, the three children of the deceased Khalil Ahmad and footage made by passersby through cell phones unveiled the reality.
A joint investigation team, constituted to probe the matter, reported that Khalil who was aged 42, his wife and his daughter were innocent while the driver Zeeshan had links with a group of Daesh (ISIS) that carried out several terrorist activities. In a briefing to senior journalists in Lahore, Additional Chief Secretary Punjab admitted that no bullet was fired by the car rider or any motorcyclist accompanying or escorting the vehicle.
The case is taking several turns on a daily basis. Recently, Khalil’s brother Jalil and their lawyer alleged that they were receiving threats from the CTD. The family has rejected the JIT’s report. The family and the locals are not ready to admit that Zeeshan had any connection with any terror group. At the same time, the family demands constitution of a judicial commission for fact finding but Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar believes that there is no need for the judicial commission since the JIT has already probed into the matter. Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his tweets after the incident, had assured that he would not forgive the people responsible of the brutal killing of Khalil and his family members at the hands of the ‘Protectors’ and would go to any extent to bring them to task.
However, Punjab CM Buzdar is not willing to satisfy the family and the nation as he expressed his dissent to the demand of the judicial commission. Khalil’s family has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court and sought the court’s help for the commission.
The CM’s reluctance and disinterest in the judicial commission indicates that there is something wrong in the background.
PM Khan had promised to the nation in his various speeches that he would not lie to the nation. It is time for him to come forward and speak truth as promised. He, as the prime minister and federal interior minister, should tell the nation facts about the Sahiwal incidents or at least, should order constitution of a judicial commission for the family’s satisfaction.