A transparent move

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THE exhaustive letter that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has written to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, requesting him to form a judicial commission comprising available SC judges to know the facts behind the assassination attempt on the PTI Chairman Imran Khan near Wazirabad during the long march, is surely an attempt to ensure investigation of the attack in a transparent manner and to the satisfaction of all concerned.

The Prime Minister has also addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan requesting him to constitute a Judicial Commission from available SC judges to probe the mysterious killing of senior journalist Arshad Sharif who was shot dead in Kenya last month.

A fast-track and fair inquiry into the both incidents assumes greater significance in the backdrop of the highly inflamed political environment of the country in which free for all allegations are being levelled, compounding the situation further.

There have been national tragedies before and regrettably mystery surrounding most of them remains unresolved due to a host of factors and reasons.

In these two incidents, some circles are raising accusing fingers towards the top government offices and senior officials of the agencies.

The letter of the Prime Minister to the CJP rightly pointed out that the country was under unrest and chaos following the tragic Wazirabad firing incident while there was also a threat to life and property of citizens due to poisoned hatred speeches of PTI leaders and violence across the country.

A nefarious campaign was being run for character assassination of state institutions, particularly the defence forces while violent attacks were being launched on private and public buildings, Governor’s House in Lahore and other installations.

The terms of reference that the Prime Minister has proposed take care of almost all points that agitate the mind of not only the two sides but also the public opinion and, therefore, one hopes the CJP would form the full-court commission to find answers to these questions.

PTI wants a fair investigation and it has already expressed satisfaction over the move to ask the apex court to do so.

It is, perhaps, for the first time in the history of the country that those who are being accused have volunteered themselves for a probe and this should be a source of satisfaction for all those who believe in the rule of law and justice for all.

Accusations and counter-accusations notwithstanding, it has to be made clear as to what were the security arrangements for the long march and especially the container of the leadership, who was responsible for the overall security and whether the SOPs were followed both by the participants/leadership and the security personnel.

There are also serious issues vis-à-vis post-incident procedures followed by the leadership and the provincial police and complaints about non-preservation of the crime scene.

It was due to this reason that the letter of the Prime Minister also questioned whether the investigation into the incident was being deliberately impeded and which elements were doing so and what were their objectives behind the same.

The Prime Minister’s letter also mentioned the delay in registering a first information report (FIR) regarding the incident and the logic of approaching a non-medico-legal centre for medical examination and treatment despite availability of scores of such centres in Punjab.

Similarly, pertinent questions have also been raised in the letter requesting formation of the judicial commission to probe the murder of Arshad Sharif and their answers would hopefully clear the mist in this regard.

The proposed judicial commissions would obviously need whole-hearted cooperation and assistance of the relevant agencies, departments and officials and that is why the Prime Minister has given an assurance that the federal government would extend full cooperation to the commissions.

Much, however, depends on the actual formation of the commission and whether or not the CJP assigns to them the same terms of reference as has been proposed by the Prime Minister.

In a related development, the Punjab Government has decided to provide foolproof security to the long march in the second phase of its journey.

This is understandable in view of the security environment but it is also the responsibility of the provincial government to provide necessary security to the Governor House.

Peaceful protests are OK but there should be firm no to violence.

 

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