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LAHORE: A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has formally launched a probe into the firing incident at the Model Town residence of Supreme Court judge Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan.

The team, however, was largely depending on the report of Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) to help determine if it were stray bullets or a targeted attack. The report would also help the JIT find out the exact direction and distance the shots were fired from.

The PFSA which collected samples on Sunday evening is likely to issue a report on Tuesday (today).

Headed by Additional Inspector General (AIG) Muhammad Tahir, the JIT comprises Deputy Inspector General (Investigation) Sultan Chaudhry, Counter-Terrorism Department Senior Superintendent of Police Shakir Hussain Dawar as well as representatives from the Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, police’s special branch and the forensic agency.

An official privy to the investigation told Dawn the JIT visited the crime scene on Monday, recorded statements of guards on duty and also took a round of the adjoining streets. They focused on two aspects – whether someone had fired in the air or it was a targeted crime.

Forensic report to determine direction, distance shots fired from

The official said Pakistan Rangers VIP Venue shift in-charge Naik Abdur Razzaq told the visiting officials that he had reported around 10:45pm on Saturday that a stray bullet hit the upper collar of the main gate of a house in H Block Model Town. Police high-ups, including DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf along with local police, immediately rushed to the site and started an investigation.

On Sunday, guards alerted police about another shot that hit the wall of the kitchen inside the judge’s residence. PFSA and senior Lahore police officials found the second bullet casing and sent it for forensic analysis.

During Monday’s visit, the JIT officials found out that the front part of the second casingl was not damaged, which showed it was fired from a considerable distance from the residence. Both spots where the bullets struck did not bear big enough cracks that showed the slow pace of the bullets.

The official said the JIT members were convinced after the visit that the second shot was fired from a considerable distance.

During inspection, they also observed that the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan was protected from both sides of the street by heavily guarded security barriers. Four Rangers officials and five policemen were also deputed outside the judge’s residence in addition to other security measures, he said. There was zero chance of a suspected entry from either side of the road, he added. The analysis of CCTV footage further confirmed that no suspect had come on the road leading to the judge’s residence.

The observations at crime scene led the investigators to believe the bullet fired on Sunday could be a stray one.

The JIT also sought details of aerial firing cases reported in the surroundings and of security guards employed by residents and weapons used by them. However, after analysing Monday’s investigation in an exclusive meeting, the JIT decided to wait for the outcome of the forensic reports to conclude their findings, the official added.

Published in Dawn, Aprill 17th, 2018