LAHORE, June 10: An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants for PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and three police officials, including a former Lahore SSP for June 17, in a case, accusing them of having murdered five youths in a staged police encounter in the Sabzazar area four years back.

The court ordered the police authorities concerned to produce Shahbaz Sharif, former Lahore SSP Ahmad Raza Tahir and former Wahdat Colony SHO Babar Ashraf Ansari on the next date of hearing.

Former DSP Umar Virk, sub-inspector Lala Roshan and ASI Zulfiqar Ahmad appeared in the court after which they were directed to furnish bail bonds of Rs100,000 as a token of guarantee that they would not abscond trial proceedings.

The five police officials had shot dead two youths —- Salahuddin and Waseem —- along with the three others in a staged police encounter in the Sabzazar area in 1998. The FIR lodged in March 1999 on the orders of the Lahore High Court further stated that this encounter was staged under directives from then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif who, according to the complainant, used extra-judicial killings to control crime.

The chargesheet was delayed for over one year by the police on the pretext that the original record of the case could not be produced owing to certain administrative problems. However, the chargesheet was finally put up before the court last month, after which the court issued orders for initiating further proceedings.

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