LAHORE: The judicial commission formed by the Punjab government to probe the torture of PTI leaders and workers in the wake of May 25 rally of the party has held the then DSP, a station house officer and an assistant sub-inspector guilty, declaring all the other civil and police bureaucracy ‘innocent’ whom the PTI had accused of thrashing its activists.
Headed by retired Justice Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi, the commission has completed the [35-page] inquiry report.
The then Punjab chief minister, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, had constituted the tribunal in September last year under Section 3 of the Punjab Tribunals of Inquiry Ordinance, 1969.
The CM had directed the one-man tribunal to identify and glean facts pertaining to the May 25 violence during the long march staged by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, besides identifying those responsible for the situation.
Tribunal absolves all others of torture of PTI activists during long march
It was constituted when the PTI accused the then chief secretary, IGP, Lahore police chief and many other officers of subjecting its party leaders and thousands of workers to severe torture.
The PTI leadership had alleged that the Punjab Police had tortured PTI workers at the behest of the then PML-N chief minister Hamza Shehbaz and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.
The PTI had directly accused the then chief secretary, IGP and the CCPO of their involvement, demanding action against them for unleashing armed police on the peaceful protesters.
The fact-finding report of the tribunal, however, declared that the then Lahore Samanabad Circle DSP Mian Afzal and Samanabad police station SHO Furqan Mahmood were involved in trespassing on house of PTI’s senior leader Mian Aslam Iqbal.
It has declared these two police officers responsible for misuse of authority on the basis of the evidences and the witnesses, declaring all others innocent.
The tribunal has also rejected the allegations of the then Punjab health minister and senior leader of PTI Prof Dr Yasmin Rashid who had alleged that the police forcibly stopped her car, thrashed her and her sister Amina at Timber Market Lahore.
She had accused ASI Zulfiqar alias ‘Jangli’ of dragging her out of her car saying that her sister and daughter had stepped forward and saved her from the police official.
In a portion of the inquiry findings, the tribunal confirmed the allegations of torturing the peaceful protesters in many parts of the province.
“Nevertheless, whatever record is available, it can be said that throughout the province peaceful processions were subjected to torture”, reads the report.
Some individuals were also taken into illegal custody and unlawfully restrained and detained, it stated adding the privacy of the homes was also violated.
“The offences of the house trespasses, house breaking by night were also committed”, declares the tribunal.
Thus, fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan and legal rights under the laws of land were infringed“, concludes the report.
Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2023
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