Former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif recorded his statement on Monday before a joint investigation team of the Punjab police looking into the Model Town case.
The former chief minister appeared before the team and representatives of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek on Monday.
During the hour-long interrogation, Shehbaz said he had no information about the Model Town incident till June 17 morning. “As soon as I was informed, I ordered the police force to backtrack,” said the PML-N president.
The investigators had already recorded the statements of other PML-N leaders named in the FIR, such as Rana Sanaullah, Khawaja Asif and Pervaiz Rashid. Shehbaz, the then chief minister, had also recorded his written statement. But, the JIT led by Motorway Police IG AD Khowaja rejected it.
The JIT will now head to Kot Lakhpat Jail where it is going to record the statement of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, after an Islamabad accountability court gave it the green light to interrogate him.
“Nawaz Sharif was prime minister when the Model Town tragedy took place. He was nominated in the FIR also,” DSP Muhammed Iqbal said in the Punjab police application on March 14. In their plea, the police sought judicial permission to gain access to the former premier for an inquiry into the Model Town case.
Nawaz is currently serving a seven-year term at the Lahore prison after being convicted in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference by an accountability court. In two other NAB corruption references, he obtained bail. But his application to get bail in the Al-Azizia case on medical grounds was turned down by the Lahore High Court. Currently, Nawaz’s bail application is pending before the Supreme Court.
On June 17, 2014, policemen opened fire and killed 14 people, including two women, in an overnight operation allegedly initiated to remove the barricades placed outside the residence of PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.
The report of the first JIT, formed by Shehbaz, was rejected by the court on the request of the PAT on the basis that it did not have any victims’ or their families’ statements. The party had moved the Supreme Court for the formation of a new JIT. The court had ordered the Punjab government to constitute a new JIT and closed the case.
The Justice Baqir Najfi report had pointed out that the police personnel didn’t confirm who gave them the order to open fire on the public.