Rehman Malik promises justice to Sahiwal victim family

ISLAMABAD: The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior was held on Tuesday. The agenda consisted of a hearing of the families of the victims who were killed by a team of Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials near Sahiwal on January 19.  Senator A. Rehman Malik chaired the meeting and was attended by Senator Kulsoom Parveen, Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi, Senator Asad Ali Khan Junejo, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, Senator Haji Momin Khan Afridi, Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, Senator Dr. Shahzad Waseem, Senator Kauda Babar and senior officers from the Ministry of Interior and Home Department Punjab along with all concerned.  Family members of the victims were especially invited for the sitting and expressing their point of view and to record their statements. Chairman Committee, Senator A. Rehman Malik assured the family of the victims that the Committee will leave no stone unturned to bring them justice.  On the behalf of the committee, he expressed heartfelt condolences with the victim families andfateha was offered for the departed souls of those who were killed in the incident.  He asserted that there is no political agenda behind this and that the whole nation stands behind them.  He added that the purpose of this meeting was to bring the perpetrators to task so that no such atrocity is committed again. He said that special transport was arranged from Senate Secretariat to bring the victim families from Lahore with security. He directed the Ministry of Interior to provide full security to the victim families. Senator A. Rehman Malik said that Chairman Senate of Pakistan Senator Sadiq Sanjrani is fully supporting the victim families and he has given the ruling that the Senate Standing Committee investigate the matter. He said that the incident have shocked the whole nation and is demanding the justice. He said “I give personal commitment to the victim families that this committee would make sure that investigations must reach to its logical end.” Chairman Committee Senator A. Rehman Malik gave special permission to the media to cover the meetings and record the statements of victims and said that he is appreciating the media for their active role and contributions in highlighting Sahiwal incident. Senator A. Rehman Malik said that he was not aware for their (victims) presence in Islamabad during last week otherwise he would have called them to the committee meeting. The families of Khalil and Zeeshan recorded their statements and also gave the committee statements in written. Senator A. Rehman Malik communicated with mother of Zeeshan in Punjabi for her understanding. Senator Javed Abbasi was of the view that there can be no doubt about the involvement of the Punjab Police.  While rejecting the JIT he stressed the need for the formation of a Judicial Commission to probe the matter independently.  Senator Azam Khan Swati and Senator Dr. Shahzad Waseem assured the Committee that Prime Minister, Imran Khan has categorically stated that this matter may be investigated independently on any forum. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure justice.  No cover will be given anyone involved in this crime.  Senator Azam Khan Swati said that this is a human tragedy.  However, if a crime is committed by a few individuals the institution cannot be blamed.  Victim Khalil’s brother Jaleel said that the FIR launched by the CTD must be reverted.  He said that they reject the JIT and demand that the investigation of the case is transferred to Lahore. The case must be decided as soon as possible. We must know who is behind their killing, he added.  Zeeshan’s mother, implored the Committee for justice.  She said that if Kulbhushan Jadev the Indian spy can be arrested alive, why was her son killed.  While caling upon the Committee for Justice, she urged the Committee that the label of being a terrorist be washed away from her son.  She demanded evidence.  Chairman Committee, Senator A. Rehman Malik inquired from IG Punjab whether any notice had been issued to Zeeshan on grounds of his involvement in terrorism.  He also demanded evidence of Zeeshan’s involvement in the abduction of the son of Yousuf Raza Gillani’s son and whether an FIR was launched against him. Chairman Committee, Senator A. Rehman Malik said that responses to these queries must be submitted within 30days.   He directed that a high power Committee, headed by Senator Kulsoom Parveen, be formed to procure more details of the incident from the family who might be intimidated by the presence of the media in the room.  He assured Zeeshan’s mother that unless proven guilty, her son will not be called a terrorist.  Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen demanded reasons for delay in forming the Judicial Commission.  Senator Javed Abbasi was of the view that any delay in forming the Judicial Commission will encourage the JIT and will tarnish the findings. Senator Kulsoom Parveen showed concern regarding the welfare of the two families especially the children who have been traumatised by this incident.  Chairman Committee, Senator A. R$ehman Malik assured that the Committee will set a certain amount for the families so that they may be supported.  He stressed that these children were the responsibility of the State and that the Committee will ensure that responsibility is fulfilled through the House. Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh inquired whether or not the 2 crore announced by the Punjab government has been paid to the Khaleel’s family.  He said that he seconds Senator Javed Abbasi’s views and requested the Chairman Committee, Senator A. Rehman Malik may consider this matter as most prioritised and must be raised as the first issue in Senate sitting today.  He said that forming a Judicial Commission at the earliest was imperative to justice. He asserted that a time lapse would bury the case; a cogent example is that of the killing of Benazir Bhutto. He said that a time frame must be given for any investigation that is conducted on this case.  Chairman Committee, Senator A. Rehman Malik directed that a letter be written to Prime Minister Imran Khan, who holds the portfolio of Interior Minister as well that the Committee considered today and heard the families of the victims of the Sahiwal incident and unanimously the Senate decided and reinforced  the earlier decision and direction which is part of the House that a Judicial Commission must be constituted immediately with specific TORs to ensure, to go into the depth of the matter and all those culprits involved in it must be blocked.    After the hearing, Standing Committee chairman Senator A. Rehman Malik demanded the Prime Minister Imran Khan to form a judicial commission to probe the Sahiwal incident as the committee and the victim families expressed distrust upon the already announced JIT of Punjab government. Asked whether there was any threat to the families, Senator A. Rehman Malik said he has directed that police protection could be provided. The police should not have shot the victims even if they were terrorists, he said. He said the police could have shot them in their legs instead of hitting them on the heads or chests if they were terrorists. Senator Malik said that we had not received any evidence against the Zeshan so we could not consider him as terrorist as Punjab Police have to explain that how he was radicalized and his role in terrorism incidents. He asked the Senator Parveen Kalsoon to hear the victim’s family and to get written statements of the victims’ families. Chairman Committee Senator A. Rehman Malik directed the Interior Secretary to covey the Prime Minister Imran Khan that committee has unanimously decided to formulate the judicial commission immediately as per the directions of the committee. He also said that we are requesting the court to appoint a legal guardian for the children of Khalil to look after them until they are matured and Punjab government should assist financially to the parents of the Khalil. Senator A. Rehman Malik said that he is considering having special recommendations of the committee for the substantial financial package for the both families to federal and Punjab government. He will make sure that investigations should reach to logical conclusion as he would himself monitor all the investigation process to ensure the justice with the families. The members of victim families thanked the chairman Committee Senator A. Rehman Malik for his great interest in the case and said that they were consistently being ignored by the all forums as no one was hearing their view. They show trust on the senate Committee on interior with appeal for Prime Minister to constitute an independent Judicial Commission for the fair and impartial investigations.