The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior was held under the chairmanship of Senator A. Rehman Malik here at Parliament House on Friday and was attended by Senator Javed Abbasi, Senator Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, Senator Kalsoom Perveen, Senator Waseem Shehzad and Senator Muhammad Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen. The meeting was also attended by Secretary Interior Major(R) Azam Suleman Khan, Additional Secretary Interior Mrs. Farah Hamid Khan, Inspector General Punjab Police Amjad Javed Saleemi, Additional Interior Secretary Punjab, DIG Punjab Ahsan Abbas, DPO Sahiwal Cap ® Muhammad Ali and other senior officials from Ministry of Law and Justice. Mayor Islamabad Sheikh Ansar Aziz, Chairman CDA, Chief Commissioner Islamabad were among others attended the meeting.
The meeting commenced with condemnation of the Sahiwal incident which saw four people including a woman and teenage girl killed last week and Fateha was offered for the departed souls of those who were killed in the tragedy. Chairman Committee Senator A. Rehman Malik was of the view that the said incident of Sahiwal has shocked the whole nation and they demand fair and impartial investigation into the matter that responsibility could be fixed and the responsible could be punished, he said.
Inspector General Punjab Police Amjad Javed Saleemi and Home Secretary Punjab appeared before the Committee and briefed it on the Sahiwal incident and presented the preliminary report.
Chairman Committee Senator A. Rehman Malik said that he appreciates both the federal and Punjab governments for their cooperation with the committee on Sahiwall incident and their efforts regarding investigation process. He said he himself discussed the matter with Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar on telephone who not only extended full support to the committee but also assured that those who found guilty shall be punished accordingly. He told the committee that he had sent four letters and questionnaires to the Punjab government through Federal Interior Ministry and received the interim report in response to 42 questions. He said that he is himself examining the interim report and a copy of the report will be sent to each member of the committee. The IG Police Punjab told the committee that the rest of the questions of the committee shall be answered soon once JIT completes its investigation. He added that this committee would thoroughly monitor all the investigation regarding this case and would continue to guide the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
Senator A. Rehman Malik said that Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) as institution according so for information shows is not involved in the incident of Sahiwal adding that individuals’ act has messed up in this issue. He said that conspiracy behind the Sahiwal tragedy cannot be ruled out as the initial investigation shows it can be personal animosity or some conspiracy to undermine our institutions. He said that our police and law enforcement agencies are already fighting and sacrificing their lives in against terrorism and such plots can be aimed at to divide and weaken the institutions. He insisted that we need to assess if some CTD individuals have been used in this conspiracy but we ensure that as nation we will not get trapped in any such anti -Pakistan move.
Senator A. Rehman Malik stressed that we are well aware of the sacrifices of our armed forces, police and all Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and appreciated their efforts against the elimination of terrorist networks across the country. He said we salute those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty to protect our country and its people. He asserted that Lahore High Court is examining this case so we would wait for their decision regarding appointment of Judicial Commission for Investigation.
He said that the level of involvement of Zeeshan Javed needs to be determined based on two points; was he radicalized, if so any evidence and if he was involved in terrorism and some terrorist acts then was he arrested in any such case or tried or put under notice under the law. CTD informed the committee that the status of Zeeshan Javed is under investigation however additional Home Secretary Punjab said that Zeeshan Javed was a terrorist and the CTD was to target him. Senator Malik said “I will call Zeeshan a terrorist only after proofs are presented before the committee,” he said. He said so it is clear that Khalil and his family were innocent.
The IG said the JIT has also been asked to collect evidence to prove any claim about Zeeshan being a terrorist. He added that most of the 42 questions have been asked by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior were answered however the remaining will be answered soon the investigation is completed. He said that the questionnaire sent by the Committee is helpful and it has set the parameter for impartial and comprehensive investigation. He further told the committee that the CTD was after a very dangerous network of terrorists, adding that the department has killed several terrorists and has arrested many. He said the CTD was established in 2015 and its efficiency has reduced the terrorism incidents to total of two in 2018. “CTD has carried out action against Daesh,” he said.
Senator A. Rehman Malik said the Senate Committee on Interior is waiting for the final report on the incident, adding that law enforcement agencies were going through a difficult phase and we are not here for blame game but to fix the responsibility for the sad incident. He asked the IG Police to submit the complete report to the committee within a month once the investigation is completed.
The IG conceded that the Sahiwal incident has dealt a very serious blow to the CTD and has put it under huge pressure. Senator A. Rehman Malik told the IG that the affected family and MNAs and MPAs from Sahiwal will be summoned by the committee in its next meeting for hearing.
Senator A. Rehman Malik said that Senate Standing Committee on Interior would continue to provide guideline to the police to probe the matter to its logical conclusion.
Secretary Interior Major (R) Azam Suleman Khan said that JIT should be given some time for complete investigations as they were observing the evidences collected by the police. Senator A. Rehman Malik directed the IGP Punjab that investigations should be fair and impartial and the CTD officials must be treated as ordinary accused during investigation. Committee also discussed the welfare plan for the children who have survived in the operation and their welfare in terms of their education is required to be looked into thoroughly. Senator A. Rehman Malik said that the Committee propose as under:-
The children may be admitted into any of the Cadet Schools and fully supported by the Government of Punjab and entire expenditure should be borne by the Government of Punjab.
The Government through Court should appoint a guardian for the minor children and they should also be provided facility of school, boarding and lodging by the Government of Punjab.
The support of Government of Punjab should be ensured through a directive of Chief Minister Punjab duly endorsed by the Court enabling all concerned to implement this decision of their welfare.
Senator A. Rehman Malik said that the Committee feels that there should be a separate law for Police Encounters to ensure State Police to stop to become self-judge, prosecutor, executor at the sight, therefore, Ministry of Law may propose a comprehensive Act which has discourage a culture of killings the suspects in the Police custody. He said that the killing during Police custody has not been dealt seriously in accordance with the law, therefore, this should also be covered properly in the law to ensure to stop the killing of suspects at will of the Police officials. The major penalty may be imposed on any such officer who is found guilty of killing the suspect willfully, with motives on different grounds, he added. While concluding the meeting, Chairman Committee Senator A. Rehman Malik said that the incident of killing of people near Sahiwal is a dark scar on the face of Police which needs to be cleared with impartial investigation and this committee would thoroughly examine the report and would recommend its own directions after final report is submitted.