LAHORE: In the wake of Sahiwal firing incident, a new standard operating procedure (SOP) has been put in place for police officers that bars them from firing at a vehicle if it doesn’tstop at a checkpost after being flagged down. Anotification has also been issued in this regard by the office of superintendent of police (SP) for Mobiles in Lahore. Under the new SOP, a wireless coordination will be carried out immediately to inform about a vehicle that is seen as suspicious by cops.
While during checking, an officer should behave politely, rather than interacting rudely with an owner or people aboard a vehicle. The police have been directed to conduct checking on suspicious vehicles only, “no citizen should be harassed unnecessarily,” the SOP says. It said the checking of suspicious persons or pedestrians would be conducted through android phones. Four people, including two women, were killed in a shady encounter involving the Punjab police’s counter-terrorism department (CTD) on a highway in the Qadirabad area of Sahiwal district on Saturday noon. The Sahiwal incident sent shock waves across the country after one of the surviving children who witnessed the episode refuted the version of the CTD.
The CTD spokesperson said Zeeshan, who was among the deceased, was an associate of a banned terror organization who would provide shelterto terrorists. He said a group of terrorists had planned an attack at some places and Zeeshan wastravelling to provide them explosives. Later, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat on Tuesday termed the Sahiwal encounter ‘100 percent correct’, but added that the initial investigation report by the JointInvestigationTeam (JIT) had held theCTD officialsresponsible for the loss of innocent lives in Sahiwal.
The provincial law minister said that in light of the JIT report, Additional IGP of the CTD and the DIG Sahiwal were immediately being removed from their posts, while DIG and the SSP of CTD had been suspended. JIT summoned Chief Justice (CJ) Lahore High Court (LHC) Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan has constituted 2-mmeber bench in connection with hearing of petition seeking judicial inquiry into Sahiwal incident besides summoning members ofJIT along with record on February 04. Petition seeking judicial inquiry into Sahiwal incident came up for hearing beforeCJ LHCSardar Muhammad Shamim Khan on Thursday. IG Punjab Police Amjid Javed Saleemi appeared before the court.
CJ LHC inquired from IG Punjab what investigation has been made so far. The counsel for petitionertold the courtstatements of all the witnesses were not recorded. Chief Justice LHC remarked “ IG Sahb, it is matter sheer injustice. Tell me how the police wield the powers to fire straight bullets. IG Punjab replied those who had fired bullets have been arrested. JIT has been constituted in the matter. CTD officers have also been suspended. CJ inquired in how many daysthe inquiry will be finalized. Tell me time frame. IG Punjab told the court at least 30 days are required for completion of investigation. CJ LHC remarked such incident should not be allowed to recur. All the DPOs should be informed in thisregard. Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan while addressing counsel for petitioner remarked constituting judicial commission is not mandate of provincial government and it falls within the powers of federal government. The counsel for petitionerreplied application has been sent to federal governmentseeking constitution of judicial commission. The hearing of the case was adjourned.