ISLAMABAD: The commission constituted to probe the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)’s 2017 sit-in at Faizabad has sought two more weeks to complete the proceedings of the inquiries and submit a report to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The three-member commission is headed by retired police officer Syed Akhtar Ali Shah and comprised former IGP Islamabad Tahir Alam Khan and Additional Interior Secretary Khushal Khan.

The request for an extension was made to the apex court before the expiry of the February 14 deadline. However, the reply of the SC is awaited, official sources said.

They said the inquiry had been completed, including recording of statements of all concerned officers and politicians who were holding offices during the sit-in and TLP’s leaders. Besides, statements of those who had submitted petitions against the apex court’s February 6, 2019, verdict on the sit-in and later withdrew them were also recorded.

Supreme Court yet to approve request for two weeks after deadline expired on Feb 14, officials say

The extension was sought as the commission gathered a bulk of documents besides recording statements related to the sit-in which have to be examined, the sources said. Moreover, a conclusion has to be drawn after examining all the documents and statements.

In addition, the inquiry proceedings, official documents and statements are to be put in writing besides finalising the findings, fixing responsibility and suggesting recommendations.

In January, the SC had granted a month’s extension to the commission for the submission of the inquiry report on the request of the federal government.

The commission had sought the extension to record statements of PML-N leaders Shehbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah and some leaders of the TLP, compile records and evidence and prepare a report.

In response, a three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa extended the deadline of January 15 till February 14.

The commission was constituted under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 2017 to ensure compliance with the February 6, 2019, apex court verdict against the TLP’s 20-day-long sit-in.

Under the terms of reference and directives of the Supreme Court, the commission is to find out who was responsible for the government’s failure to intercept the TLP supporters from reaching Faizabad, why efforts were not made to intercept them before they reached Islamabad, why efforts were not made to remove them from there, why and how an operation conducted against them by police failed and who supported the participants of the sit-in financially and in other means.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2024

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