LAHORE – The Lahore High Court has ordered the Punjab government to submit the judicial inquiry report into the 2014 Model Town incident which left 14 Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers dead and dozens other injured.
On Monday, a full-member bench of the LHC headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh heard the government’s petition against making the report public and handing it over to the legal heirs of the deceased and injured.
In September, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi of the LHC ordered the government to make the report public.
The government’s counsel, Khawaja Harris, contended that the inquiry report was not part of judicial records and could not be used as evidence. He argued that the verdict by a single bench of the court should be set aside as the matter was being heard by a full bench of the high court.
A clash between the PAT workers and Punjab police left 14 dead and 85 injured in 2014 during an ‘anti-encroachment’ operation near Dr Tahirul Qadri’s residence in Model Town.
Later, a judicial tribunal headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi was constituted for finding out facts and fixing responsibility on the perpetrators.
The commission completed the inquiry and submitted the report to the Punjab government on August 9, 2014. However, the government refused to make it public.
The victims then petitioned the high court through Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, who argued that releasing the inquiry report was clearly a matter of public interest, and the government was bound under the law to give the required information to the general public.
Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi of the LHC observed in his September judgment that as the report was the outcome of judicial proceedings, it was a public document. However, the Punjab government decided to challenge the verdict and filed an intra-court appeal before the LHC.