July 19, 2024

A protester throws a tear gas shell back towards police during a clash in Islamabad on Nov 25, 2017. ─ AFP
A protester throws a tear gas shell back towards police during a clash in Islamabad on Nov 25, 2017. ─ AFP

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has demanded making the probe report the 2017 Faizabad sit-in “public”, after former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lieutenant General (retd) Faiz Hamid got clean chit from the inquiry commission.

The former ruling party also demanded the top judge order action against the responsible of the Faizabad sit-in besides directing implementation of recommendations tabled by the inquiry commission.

Contents of the inquiry report were important in many aspects, the spokesperson of the Imran-founded party said, adding that it was fundamental right of the nation to be aware of the verified contents of the report.

The party claimed that incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif — who was then chief minister of Punjab in 2017 — and the former provincial government were declared “responsible” by the commission in light of testimonies recorded by ex-premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, and others.

“[PM] Shehbaz should resign from his post and be answerable to the nation regarding his criminal mistakes,” the spokesperson demanded.

Additionally, it demanded registration of criminal cases against the incumbent premier and his cabinet following the commission’s recommendations.

The party also stressed that it was important to unveil facts regarding the “role of institutions in national politics” before the nation.

Shock to incumbent PML-N govt

General (retd) Faiz Hamid was exonerated by the inquiry commission established to investigate the Faizabad dharna case, a The News report stated on Tuesday.

The commission was led by Dr Akhtar Ali Shah, a former officer of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, and included senior PAS official Khushhal Khan and former inspector general Tahir Alam.

Meanwhile, former Punjab Rangers director general Major General (retd) Azhar Naveed Hayat was also given a clean chit in the matter that has been under probe by the commission constituted on the Supreme Court’s orders following the case pertaining to the 2017 sit-in at Faizabad which was led at that by former Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

Both the former military officers were alleged of distributing money among participants of the sit-in protest in the federal capital. At the time of the protest, Hamid was heading ISI’s counter intelligence wing and held the rank of a major general.

The inquiry body found out that then-army chief and ISI director general had given Hamid permission to sign the agreement as an arbitrator.

Ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and then-interior minister Ahsan Iqbal had also agreed to signing of the accord by Hamid on November 25, 2017, following which the demonstrators dispersed.

Without mentioning the name of then-Punjab CM Shehbaz, the body said his government was responsible for the sit-in in Islamabad. It reported The News after its correspondent read the commission’s 149-page report and obtained some excerpts from it.

“There is no connection of any government official with the protest as we could not find evidence establishing involvement of a state institution or secret agency in facilitating it,” the commission stated.

It also suggested taking action against then-Punjab IG Arif Nawaz for lying to the panel and engaging in wrongdoing.

On the other hand, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the report made by the Faizabad inquiry holds no value as it is neither authentic nor reliable.

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