ISLAMABAD: Calling the tense law and order situation following the gun attack on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan a “serious threat” to the solidarity of the country, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday asked Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to form a judicial commission comprising all available judges to unearth the facts behind the assassination bid on the former premier.

In his letter to the top judge, PM Sharif said the government would provide complete assistance to the commission to restore public confidence in state institutions and for the sake of finding out the actual factors leading to the gun attack.

The premier proposed that the commission take into consideration a number of questions while probing the gun attack. These included safety measures for the protection of the long march, claims about the involvement of multiple shooters in the attack, the number of victims, and the nature of their injuries.

Additionally, the letter also asked the commission to ascertain which law enforcement agency was responsible for the security of the PTI chief and whether relevant investigation SOPs were followed after the attack.

It also asked the commission to focus on whether deliberate hurdles were being created in the investigation process and, if hurdles were being created, then which elements were involved. The commission was also asked to find out whether the gun attack on Mr Khan was a conspiracy or the act of an individual, per the letter.

Mr Sharif also claimed that the PTI government in Punjab did not adhere to the legal procedures which were mandatory in such situations. “The container where the incident took place and where the people received injuries, was not secured for the purpose of forensic examination,” the letter said, “The medico-legal report of the PTI’s chairman was not compiled as he was rushed to a private hospital which was not a legal procedure.”

He added that the events that transpired after the attack gave rise to suspicions that the provincial government could “tamper” with the evidence. “It amounted to mala fide manifestation that relevant legal procedures had not been adopted over the probe process and collection of evidence,” the prime minister said in the letter, adding that the federal government had already addressed a letter to the provincial administration, expressing serious reservations over these lapses.

It claimed the miscreants under the “patronage of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments had indulged in violent attacks on private and public properties, Governor House Punjab and other places”. “A dirty campaign was being run against the state institutions, especially against the armed forces with false and baseless allegations to tarnish its image,” the letter added.

In a separate tweet, the premier said, “I have written two letters to chief justice of Pakistan with a request to form judicial commission to investigate Arshad Sharif killing and attack on Imran. These unfortunate incidents are being used to make false allegations, spread chaos and undermine institutions. Let’s truth be determined.”

Reacting to the letter for the constitution of a full-court commission, PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said the party has complete confidence in the chief justice and the decision he will take on the PM’s request for a commission. He added that any probe will be futile unless three persons pointed out by the PTI chief resigned from their posts. He also demanded an investigation into the cipher controversy, Senator Azam Swati’s video leak, and murder of senior journalist Arshad Sharif by the same judicial commission.

However, some legal experts believed that usually the CJ did not turn down the request of the premier but it was his prerogative whether to constitute the judicial commission comprising all judges of the apex court or add only a few judges to it.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2022

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