ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has written a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, requesting him to constitute a judicial commission comprising all available judges of the apex court to examine whether the shooting was a result of a criminal conspiracy hatched to assassinate the PTI chairman or the act of a lone shooter.
The prime minister’s letter stated that the unfortunate incident of firing at the rally of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman at Wazirabad and the subsequent venomous speeches of its leadership have created a state of turmoil and fear in the country by triggering a series of violent protests, which have put ordinary citizens at risk, and garnered significant media coverage throughout Pakistan and globally. It added that it may be noted that despite a lapse of over 72 hours, no FIR has been registered in relation to the incident.
Regrettably, law enforcement agencies and investigating authorities under the PIT-led Punjab government have failed to adhere to the law and the rules applicable to any investigation following an incident of this nature.
It is unfortunate that the crime scene has not been secured, and the container on which injuries were sustained by the PTI leadership is yet to be taken into custody for forensic analysis.
Nor was any medico-legal report of the chairman PTI prepared following the incident; instead, he was directly taken to a private cancer research hospital, which is not a registered medico-legal centre.
It may also be noted that the mishandling of the investigation process in the incident’s aftermath by the government of Punjab and its functionaries is likely to result in compromised evidence, which is directly attributable to the failure of the provincial law enforcement agencies to follow prescribed investigation protocols, and which smacks of malafide.
The federal government has already written to the provincial administration and expressed its grave concern at the mishandling of the matter. Further, public installations, buildings including the Governor House at Lahore, and even private properties have been attacked by miscreant under the patronage of the Governments of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where similar demonstrations were orchestrated.
A derogatory campaign has ensued in tandem against state institutions, especially the armed forces of Pakistan, which are being accused of conspiring, along with the federal government, against the former prime minister.
The federal government is of the opinion that, pending criminal investigation, and in order to put matters to rest and restore public confidence in state institutions, an impartial body needs to inquire into the matter, ascertain the facts, identify the culprits, and affix responsibility for the incident.
In this regard, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has always played a key role in upholding the Constitution and the preservation of rule of law.
The present circumstances represent a great threat to public safety imperilling the national security of the state of Pakistan.
The Government of Pakistan; therefore, requests the honourable chief justice to very graciously constitute a judicial commission comprising all available judges of the court to examine the following, amongst other, questions: (i) which law enforcement agencies were responsible to provide security to the convoy and whether security protocols and other standard operating procedures were put in place to secure the convoy and whether these protocols were adhered to;(ii) what are the facts of the incident itself? (reports of multiple shooters on the scene and retaliatory firing, total number of victims and the nature of their injuries etc); (iii) whether law enforcement agencies and administrative authorities complied with prescribed investigation, evidence collection and handling procedures following the incident? If not, what procedural lapses took place and which administrative authorities, law enforcement agencies or provincial government functionaries are responsible for the same; (iv) whether the investigation into the incident is being deliberately impeded, if yes, by which actors and why; (v) whether the shooting was a result of a criminal conspiracy hatched to assassinate the PTI chairman or the act of a lone shooter and who are the actors responsible in either scenario.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022