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Model Town incident: LHC CJ seeks more arguments on plea against JIT

LAHORE: The full bench of the Lahore High Court on Monday seized with petitions against constitution of the second Joint Investigating Team (JIT) in the Model Town killing incident sought an affidavit from Chief Minister Punjab as if Advocate General Punjab Ahmad Awais was under his instructions while giving a statement before the Supreme Court about the constitution of a new JIT to hold fresh investigation into the incident.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan asked the AAG, “Also tell us if the chief minister wants to invoke his constitutional immunity”.

The bench also sought arguments on different legal points including whether a fresh investigation could be held in a case after filing of challan and indictment of the suspects and whether the JIT in question was constituted with the approval of the chief minister and the cabinet.

The bench on last hearing had refused to hear AGP Awais asking him to seek a permission first in writing from the chief minister to represent the government in the petitions.

Earlier, Additional Advocate General (AAG) Punjab Malik Akhtar Javed told the bench that he had been appointed as prosecutor to represent the provincial government in the petitions against the JIT.

AAG Javed further told the bench that all the record of the JIT, its report and minutes of the cabinet meeting that approved the constitution of the JIT.

Asked about the legitimacy of the AGP’s statement before the SC, the AAG said the AGP had given the statement on the instructions of the chief minister Punjab in the presence of chief secretary.

The chief justice asked the law officer whether the instructions given by the chief minister were in line with the Mustafa Impex judgment by the SC. Azam Nazir Tarar, on behalf of the petitioners, said the SC had not ordered any JIT but the government itself decided to hold a fresh investigation in the case.

Later, he said, the government on January 3, 2019, formed the impugned JIT in clear violation of settled laws. He argued that the trial court had already indicted 47 out of a total of 69 suspects and recorded statements of 86 out of 135 witnesses.

The bench directed the petitioners’ counsel to submit a brief history of the case in writing.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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