• Send panel of three senior officials as team members
• Punjab govt tells Centre it has ‘no confidence’ in IGP, asks for withdrawal of his services
• Police submit compliance report to Supreme Court Lahore registry on filing of FIR

LAHORE: In the ongoing saga of pending investigation into the attack on former prime minister Imran Khan in Wazirabad, the Punjab police have recommended names of three officers to the provincial government to form a joint investigation team (JIT) to launch a formal probe into the case.

In a related development, the Punjab government has expressed ‘no confidence’ on the performance of Faisal Shahkar as the provincial police chief, and requested the Establishment Division, Islamabad, to withdraw his services forthwith.

A senior police official confirmed to Dawn that the police department has proposed the names of Punjab Additional Inspector General Riaz Nazir Garah, Deputy Inspector General (investigation) Nasir Satti and Assistant Inspector General (monitoring) Ehsanul Haq for a JIT to investigate the case of the assassination attempt on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

The names had been proposed following the approval by Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Faisal Shahkar.

Under the rules, the official said, the Punjab Home Department was authorised to accept or reject the panel or remove any of the proposed individuals. It was also the provincial government’s domain to include intelligence officials in the JIT.

In reply to a question, the official said the team would start its investigation into the high-profile case once a notification was issued. About the arrested suspects, including the one held from the crime scene, the official said they were all in the custody of the Counter-Terrorism Department for interrogation.

He claimed that the Central Police Office (CPO) or the Wazirabad police had not received a written objection from the PTI leadership to the FIR registered on the complaint of the police.

Meanwhile, regarding the IGP’s transfer issue, the Punjab government has officially conveyed to the federal government through a letter written by the Services and General Administration Department that it had ‘no confidence’ in the officer owing to his ‘mishandling’ of the PTI long march and attack on Mr Khan.

“The provincial cabinet in its meeting held on Nov 4 unanimously showed its no confidence in the performance of Faisal Shahkar, the provincial police officer, pertaining to security measures, handling of long march and the incident that took place on Nov 3, in Wazirabad,” reads the letter addressed to the Establishment Division, Islamabad.

The government also reminded the Establishment Division of a letter written by Mr Shahkar to the Centre wherein he had requested withdrawal of his services from Punjab.

“In view of the above, it is requested that the services of Mr Faisal Shahkar, the provincial police officer, may be withdrawn from the Punjab province,” the letter reads.

On the other hand, in a tit-for-tat move, the federal government wrote a fourth letter to the Lahore capital city police officer, reminding him that he hasn’t reported to the Establishment Division as per earlier notifications. The letter reminded him to immediately relinquish charge of his post.

The official source said the IGP resumed his official assignments on Tuesday despite himself requesting the federal government to withdraw his services from the province. He, however, didn’t visit the CPO and worked from the camp office adjoining his official residence in Lahore. He issued necessary instructions to the police officers, the source said.

Compliance report of FIR registration

Separately, the Punjab police submitted a compliance report to the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry about registration of an FIR in the assassination attempt on Imran Khan.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial had at the principal seat of Islamabad the other day warned IGP Shahkar of suo motu proceedings if an FIR of the Nov 3 attack was not registered within 24 hours.

On behalf of the IGP, the additional inspector general (Legal-II) of the Human Rights Cell submitted the compliance report to the deputy registrar of the Supreme Court at the Lahore registry.

The report said the FIR under Sections 302, 324, 440 of the PPC, read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, had been registered at the Wazirabad City police station.

“A copy of the FIR is enclosed herewith for kind perusal of the honourable court,” it added.

Wajih Ahmad Sheikh also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2022

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