LHC moved against acquittal of suspects in Sahiwal 'encounter' case

06:17 PM | 28 Oct, 2019
LHC moved against acquittal of suspects in Sahiwal 'encounter' case
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LAHORE - The Punjab government on Monday filed a petition against an ATC verdict acquitting the suspects in the Sahiwal encounter in which multiple people were killed by the personnel of law enforcement agencies last year.

Additional Prosecutor Abdul Samad Khan submitted the petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC), arguing that either the investigation into the incident was weak or witnesses had changed their statements.

The provincial government has challenged the verdict days after Prime Minister Imran Khan taking personal interest issued directives to the Punjab government in this regard.

PM Imran's Orders

Last week, the prime minister had directed Punjab government to challenge the verdict of the Sahiwal encounter case.

He had also instructed the authorities to highlight weaknesses and shortfalls in the case presented by the complainant in the court.

"All the nation watched the video of shooting the parents in front of their children," Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan quoted the premier as saying. .

"If their family doesn't become the plaintiff, then the state will represent the case as the plaintiff." she wrote in a tweet.

ATC Verdict

On Oct 24, the court had acquitted all accused of Sahiwal killings case after giving them the benefit of doubt.

ATC-I Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta had conducted the case proceedings, wherein the accused- Safdar Hussain, Ahsan Khan, Ramzan, Saifullah, Husnain and Nasir Nawaz- were produced.

The court announced the verdict after hearing arguments of the parties and examining available evidence. The court held that the injured witnesses ( victim Khalil's children) failed to identify the accused whereas the accused could not be identified in the Photogrammetric test. The incharge ammunition had also testified that the accused returned their weapons and rounds, it added.

The court recorded statements of 49 witnesses, including victim Zeshan's brother Ehtisham, Khalil's children, Umair and Muniba, and his brother Jalil also got recorded

their statements.

The Case

Khalil, his wife Nabila, their teenage daughter Areeba, and friend Zeeshan Javed were killed after the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials opened fire on their car in Sahiwal on January 19, 2019.

Jalil had lodged a case against six CTD officials at  Yousafwal police station.

Initially, the trial was conducted in Sahiwal but the Lahore High Court ordered the transfer of the case from Sahiwal to Lahore while allowing a petition filed by Jalil, brother of Khalil. The petitioner contended that they had been facing problems while attending trial proceedings in Sahiwal.