LAHORE: Holding the Counter-Terrorism Department solely responsible for the killing of three members of a family in Saturday’s Sahiwal shooting, the Punjab government on Tuesday removed five senior police officers, including the CTD chief, from their posts and ordered trial of the five personnel who had opened fire on the family in an antiterrorism court.

Those removed from their offices are CTD head Additional IG Tahir Rai, Additional IG (Operations) Azhar Hameed Khokhar, DIG Babar Sarfraz Alpa while CTD SSP Jawad Qamar and CTD’s Sahiwal DSP have been suspended.

The action was announced by Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat at a press conference in the evening after the head of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Additional IG Ijaz Hussain Shah presented the JIT’s interim report at a meeting, which was chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.

JIT fixes responsibility on Counter-Terrorism Department, seeks more time to probe allegations against Zeeshan; trial of five shooters in ATC ordered

“The JIT in its preliminary report has held the CTD responsible for the murder of three innocent people, including Khalil, head of the family, his wife and their 13-year-old daughter,” said the law minister, accompanied by some of his cabinet colleagues at the press conference.

Mr Basharat said that after examining the contents and findings of the report, the Punjab government issued order for action. Additional IG Tahir Rai, Additional IG Azhar Hameed Khokhar and DIG Babar Sarfraz Alpa had been told to report to the federal government, he said.

“The government has also ordered immediate suspension of the CTD SSP and DSP from service keeping in view the scale of their negligence,” he said.

The minister said the Punjab government also ordered trial of the five cops (who carried out the shooting) in the antiterrorism court. They had been taken into custody on the directive of the chief minister on Saturday.

About the killing of Zeeshan Javed, who was driving the car, the law minister said the JIT head had sought some more time for further investigation into the CTD allegations about his links with a proscribed terror outfit.

In reply to a question, the law minister said that since the JIT had done a lot in providing justice to the aggrieved family, there was no need for the formation of a judicial commission.

When a reporter raised a query on the unprofessional way of launching the operation by the CTD, Mr Basharat declared it a ‘genuine’ operation.

“The operation was 100 per cent correct. But innocent people should not have been killed,” he argued.

He said it was a test case for the government of Punjab that would provide justice to the aggrieved. “The incumbent government has done justice and set a historic precedent,” he remarked.

He said he would share with media further details of the ‘high-profile’ matter on Wednesday (today).

Besides Mr Basharat, senior minister Aleem Khan, IGP Amjad Javed Saleemi, chief secretary Yousaf Nadeem Khokhar, additional chief secretary and officers of the agencies concerned attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, a TV channel claimed to have obtained some evidence in the form of audio calls record and text messages of Zeeshan Javed. It said Zeeshan had made calls twice to alleged terrorist Usman who was shot dead by the law enforcement agencies. The car which was being driven by him in Sahiwal on Saturday was owned by another alleged terrorist Adeel Hafeez who had also been killed in an encounter with the CTD in Faisalabad, according to the TV channel.

It further aired that Zeeshan in a Whatsapp message to the terrorists had expressed his wish to become a “suicide attacker”.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019