A FIR was lodged on Sunday afternoon against the 16 Counter-Terrorism Department officials allegedly involved in the Sahiwal shooting. They were arrested on Saturday night on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The cops were allegedly involved in the killing of four people in a police shooting near the Okara toll plaza in Sahiwal. A case has been registered at the Yousafwala police station.
The deceased have been identified as 42-year-old Mohammad Khalil, his wife Nabila, 38, their 14-year-old daughter Areeba and their friend, Zeeshan Javed. They hailed from Kot Lakhpat. Three children—two sisters and a brother—were in the car too.
After the PM contacted him, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had directed Punjab Inspector-General Amjad Javed Saleemi to arrest the CTD police officials and register a case against them.
The IG and CTD officials accepted that the counter-terrorism department were at fault for acting on a ‘weak’ tip-off. They met with the CM on Sunday.
A team is investigating if the person who gave the tip-off had a vendetta against Zeeshan. The police have yet to find any proof of Zeeshan being involved in any terrorist activity.
The CTD claimed that the car in which the family was travelling had tinted windows, which is why they weren’t able to see the children and woman sitting in the backseat.
On Saturday, a joint investigation team was constituted by the Punjab IG to investigate the killings. The team is headed by DIG Zulfiqar Hameed and includes members of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, and Intelligence Bureau. The report will be submitted in three days.
The CTD has identified one of the deceased as Zeeshan. The department initially said that he was wanted in several cases of crime, including the kidnapping of Ali Haider Gilani, the son of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, and several American citizens. It also says he was the deputy chief of a banned outfit.
They said that the rented car he was driving was used to carry out operations for a banned outfit’s network, they said. They claimed he was transporting explosives to Southern Punjab. Safe City cameras had picked up the car.
The department has also said that the family was being used as a cover by Zeeshan.
Initially, it was being reported that the CTD believed that the four people were kidnappers but later it was reported that they were terrorists. They said the children had been kidnapped. According to the Sahiwal police, the operation was conducted by the Lahore CTD.
The hospital at which the children are at has been completely sealed and no one is being allowed to enter the emergency department.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered an inquiry into the incident while the Punjab IG and chief minister have also taken notice of the incident.
The family said that one of the deceased, Zeeshan, was their taxi driver who they had hired to attend a wedding in a nearby village.
Punjab CM’s spokesperson Shahbaz Gill has said that the incident is being investigated from all angles. One possibility could be that the terrorists were taking cover of the female passengers, he said.
The children were brought to the General Hospital in Lahore and are being treated there.
Protests erupt across Punjab
The family of the deceased is protesting the incident outside DHQ Teaching Hospital Sahiwal. They have demanded that the bodies of the victims be handed over to them.
The family is saying that no higher authorities have reached the hospital to address the issue yet.
Meanwhile, Lahore’s Ferozepur Road was blocked for a few hours by citizens protesting the incident. The protesters termed the killings of the four people as “cold-blooded murder” by the CTD. They later called off the protest after assurances from the city administration to look into the matter.
On Sunday morning a protest in Lahore caused the Metro Bus service to be shut down.