EDITORIAL: More than two months on, the truth as to who and how many were involved in the murderous attack on Imran Khan at Punjab’s Wazirabad town as he stood on a truck-mounted container leading Azadi March remains a mystery. And this mystery is as much a product of intra-Joint Investigation Team (JIT) differences as it stems from the conflicting versions vociferously expressed by the victim’s camp and the federal government.
Both sides have gone to the media with their versions, compelling the man in the street to believe that the truth may be somewhere else and not in what the two sides are trying to sell about the attempt on the life of person who heads the country’s largest political party and is chief of the party that governs the province of which the place of incident is a town. The entire saga is not being treated as an attempt on the life of a person and should be investigated and tried in the court of law. However, it has only transformed into a big political issue. That should not have happened, but what to do when to be in power means to be the owner of this land inhabited by some 222 million people.
The questions whether the attempt on Imran Khan’s life the scheme of a single individual or it was part of broader conspiracy attract conflicting versions. His party leaders and even Imran Khan himself has claimed, quite in detail, that attempt to kill him was part of a broader conspiracy. And in support of his claim he says that he himself being the victim was not allowed to file the First Information Report. Were he allowed to file the FIR he says he would have named three - Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and “black sheep” in the military, according to him.
PTI leader and spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry also said that November 3 attack on Imran Khan was part of a “well-coordinated” plan executed by three shooters. “And the assassin had to be killed on the spot but ill-fated Moazzam came in the way,” former minister said, comparing the attack on Imran Khan with the assassination of ex-PM Liaquat Ali Khan whose shooter was killed on the spot. The opposite side, mainly led by Rana Sanaullah, has asserted that there was only one shooter, who acted against Imran Khan as he believed him to be guilty of committing blasphemy.
Given the conflicting perspectives, a JIT headed by Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore Ghulam Mehmood Dogar was constituted by the Punjab government to know the whole truth. But its composition was rejected by the federal government as it expressed lack of confidence in Dogar and also wanted the IB and ISI to be members of the JIT. And somehow it was the Dogar’s take on the incident that would find more place in the media, forcing four members of the JIT to reject some ‘disclosures’ made by him.
They have submitted a letter to the convener, emphatically disowning what was being fed to the media. They insisted, “some of the conclusions being drawn and shared on media are not shared by us. We hold very different views about the issue”. They have questioned the involvement of more than one assailant and say there is also “no evidence that showed that the assailant was linked to any other person in carrying out the attack”.
In other words, they have demolished the PTI case about the number of shooters and involvement of “black sheep”. But that said the failure of the JIT to know whole truth should not be taken as justification to not know the whole truth. A crime has been committed and those involved in it must be found out and duly penalized.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023