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Model Town report: Qadri terms govt claims as false propaganda

LAHORE: Pakistan Awami League chief Dr. Tahir ul Qadri, while addressing a press conference, on Wednesday termed provincial government claims that the report does not blame any government official as false propaganda.

The Punjab government, at the behest of the Lahore High Court, made the report for the Model Town incident public on December 5. The report was drafted by Justice Baqir Najfi and termed the 2014 tragedy in Lahore’s Model Town as the “most unfortunate incident” in the country’s history.

At least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured in police action against PAT workers during an ‘anti-encroachment operation’ on June 17, 2014.

The PAT chief said that for the past 26 hours, government officials including Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, have been saying that the report did not hold any official responsible for the Model Town tragedy, “this is false propaganda”.

Qadri added that he did not try to access the real report before the court issued orders, but as the latter has been done, the real report needs to be accessed and compared with the one which was released.

“A meeting of the core committee [of my party] and lawyers is scheduled for tomorrow,” said Qadri.

He also said that he has advised his party workers and the adminstration to remain ready, as at “anytime a call can be given”.

“My message to the workers is that they should stay ready.”

The PAT chief further said that he has asked the administration of his party to keep his container ready and further elaborated that though he plans to go for Umrah on Dec 11, his plans can change if the situation evolves.

Discussing the contents of the report, he said the force used by the police forces during the operation to clear barriers was disproportionate when compared to the resistance offered by “unarmed protesters”.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah dismissed the report as defective during a press conference held on Tuesday.

“The government promised, when the matter was sub-judice in the high court, that it would make the report public and it duly fulfilled its promise,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said while addressing a press conference in Lahore.

“The report is defective in the eye of law as it is based on secondary evidence, which is not admissible as per the Evidence Act,” Sanaullah said.

The law minister also accused Qadri (PAT) of creating a fuss over the Model Town incident report.

Justice Baqir Najfi commission inquiry report said that police tried to cover up the facts regarding who gave orders to open fire on protesters, according to the commission report released Tuesday.

The report added that no legal opinion was sought from the Punjab advocate general prior to the start of the operation.

The commission also stated that on the ground, the standoff continued the whole night, resulting in minor injuries to police constables as well as PAT workers.

It was after 9am that the DIG Operation arrived at the site, who called the SPs of different divisions of Lahore, and a result the policemen started increasing in response to the swelling up of the PAT activists.

The commission observed in its report: “The level of cooperation in digging out the truth is that no police official from top to bottom, whether actively participated in the operation or not, did utter a single word about the person under whose command the police resorted to firing upon the PAT workers.”

Further, in its conclusion, the commission said, “It is shocking to note that everyone has deliberately but unsuccessfully tried to cover each other from possibly adverse legal effetcs.”

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