LAHORE: The police authorities faced severe criticism for not nominating Prime Minister Imran Khan’s nephew Barrister Hassaan Niazi in the cases registered against the lawyers who attacked the Punjab Institute of Cardiology.
Two FIRs were lodged against 250 lawyers after they stormed the state-run cardiac hospital, damaged public property and beat government employees. Police framed terrorism, murder and street crime charges in the cases lodged on the complaint of the PIC chief executive and the Shadman SHO.
After going through several CCTV/mobile phone footage and obtaining credible information from other sources, police higher-ups nominated 21 lawyers in the FIRs which were lodged late on Wednesday.
An official said mobile phone footage surfaced the same day that caught PM’s nephew Hassaan Niazi throwing stones on police on Jail Road. The footage went viral on the social media, he said, adding that police neither nominated him in the FIRs nor did they arrest him.
Police took the flak for alleged favour to PM’s nephew who is the son of Hafeezullah Niazi, a columnist who is a strong critic of the PTI since his falling out with Mr Imran Khan a few years ago.
A senior police officer denied the allegation of giving favour to Hassaan Niazi saying all the lawyers who participated in the violent protest would be treated equally. He said Hassaan was among more than 200 lawyers who had gone underground to avoid arrest. The police teams were carrying out raids for their arrest, he said, adding that 46 lawyers had been arrested so far.
Meanwhile, the chief minister met Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi and his son MNA Moonis Elahi and said the PIC incident was “very shameful and deplorable”. He said the responsible elements would not escape the law.
Pervaiz Elahi expressed complete solidarity with the doctors, paramedical staff, patients and their relatives.
Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2019