SC directs LHC to conclude Model Town case in three months
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Lahore High Court (LHC) to announce verdict in petitions against the formation of new joint investigation team (JIT) in Model Town case, in three months.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, heard the case.
During the course of proceedings, the Chief Justice directed the Registrar, Lahore High Court to submit this order of the Supreme Court before the Chief Justice LHC.
The top court also directed the Chief Justice LHC to form a bench in light of this order.
The Chief Justice said that many people were killed and injured in Model Town tragedy many years ago.
Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan said that the Punjab government had promised to form a new JIT. The victims approached the Supreme Court for the new JIT as the old JIT did not record the victims’ statements, he added.
He said that some people approached the Lahore High Court against the new JIT. After getting stay order from the Lahore High Court, delaying tactics were used to prolong the case, he added.
He asked how the three-judge bench of the high court could suspend the decision of a five-member Supreme Court bench.
He asked why not the apex court suspend the interim order of the Lahore High Court.
He said that the new JIT should be allowed to work.
Advocate Ali Zafar, counsel for victims said that the trial court had recorded the statements of 28 witnesses of the Model Town tragedy. He said that the verdict of the SC seven-member larger bench was also available.
The Chief Justice asked what would JIT do if the trial was continuing?
He said that the decision on the Model Town incident should be announced and there should be no hindrance to the decision.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed said a verdict on the Model Town incident has to be announced come what may.
Advocate Ali Zafar argued that the decision to stop the JIT from working was made with ill intentions. He said the high court had interfered with the Supreme Court’s order, however, Justice Ahmed warned him not to involve the top court in this.
A lawyer representing the police said one FIR in this case was lodged by the government and the other by the PAT. Investigations cannot be conducted during a trial, he added.
It is pertinent to mention that on March 22, 2019, LHC had dissolved the joint investigation team (JIT) constituted to investigate the 2014 Model Town incident afresh. – APP