Pakistan

LHC to hear arguments on formation of new JIT in 2014 Model Town incident

A full bench of Lahore High Court for further arguments deferred till Thursday (today) the hearing of a number of petitions against formation of new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the 2014 Model Town incident 

A petitioner counsel Azam Nazir Tarrar, who is also a senator of PML-N advanced arguments and said that new JIT was not required but complainant Pakistan Awami Tehreek which is an alliance of the present ruling party was given this chance. He said that the complainant had all the opportunity to get an ‘independent investigation ordered by the trial court in its private complaint but it did not avail that opportunity.

He said that fresh investigation could not be ordered after the submission of challan in any case and in support of this point he referred to several judgments of the Supreme Court.

At this juncture, the bench observed that there were also judgments permitting fresh investigation at any stage.

He submitted that nothing new would happen in case of the new investigation but wastage of time and the ego satisfaction of the complainant as the trial court and the high court had dismissed the plea to try the political personalities belonging to the PML-N. He pleaded that permitting a new investigation at this stage of the case would amount to allowing a policeman to undo all orders of the courts.

Counsel said that the case in hand was that the complainant could not demand a new investigation after the submission of challan and recording of more than half witnesses in its own private complaint.

The bench pointed out that the Supreme Court had also condoned the delay of more than eight years allowing former prime minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to challenge his conviction in plane hijacking case.

In reply, Mr. Tarrar submitted that the matter of Nawaz was an appeal against the conviction and there were numerous cases whereby the courts condoned delays of even ten years in challenging the convictions. He further said that the advocate general failed to furnish before a previous bench any document about the formation of the JIT and now the government produced a document claiming that the cabinet approved the constitution of the new JIT.

He said that JIT initially was formed through verbal permission. He also alleged that the government of tampering with the record and urged the bench should take notice of it. 

Several police officials facing trial in the private complaint filed by the PAT had filed petitions in 2019 challenging the legality of the new JIT formed by the Punjab government. 

A bench comprising Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, Justice Aalia Neelum, Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi, Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem, Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar, and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh is hearing arguments. 

A full bench earlier had suspended the new JIT of Model Town incident on March 22, 2019.

At least 14 people were killed and 100 others were injured in the firing incident on June 17, 2014, at Lahore’s Model Town.

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