LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) by the federal government to look into the Wazirabad attack on former prime minister Imran Khan.
A writ petition filed by Punjab PTI president Dr Yasmin Rashid claims that the constitution of the new JIT is against the law and “without application of mind” as a JIT had already been formed by the elected government of Punjab, which has been investigating the incident.
It states that since Nov 3, 2022, when the incident took place, it has remained a provincial subject and whilst keeping the law and order under consideration, the JIT constituted by the provincial government has been exercising its jurisdiction properly and within the confines of the law.
Therefore, the petition apprehends, the JIT made by the federal government on Jan 23 would only hinder the progress of the JIT that is already working.
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It says that several people, including Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, are suspects in the Wazirabad attack and it is clear that the new JIT has been constituted by the federal government only to exonerate the minister and others from the incident.
Dr Rashid argues that the impugned notification of JIT is not only illegal and biased, but also based on mala fide, beyond the scope of law and the federal government’s jurisdiction.
According to the petition, the federal government’s action is in violation of the fundamental rights, as envisaged under Article 10-A of the Constitution, and the due process of law.
The PTI leader asked the high court to set aside the new JIT for being illegal and allow the previous JIT formed by the provincial government to complete its investigation.
She recalled that after the federal cabinet’s approval, the ministry of interior had issued the impugned notification of the new JIT, headed by IG Railways Police Rao Sardar Ali Khan.
The petition says the development came at a time when Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi took oath of his office after his predecessor Parvez Elahi dissolved the provincial assembly. The new JIT was formed under Section 19(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.
The petition notes that a day before the federal government set up the JIT, the outgoing elected government of Punjab had reconstituted the provincial JIT for a fourth time by removing four of its members.
Dr Rashid contends that an FIR which was requested to be lodged by the aggrieved persons was not registered for “some extraneous consideration” and now during the presence of the caretaker government in Punjab, the federal government has exercised such arbitrary power which in turn leads to exploitation and is in violation of the fundamental rights.
Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2023
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