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December 6, 2017

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Report defective, inconclusive: Rana Sana

LAHORE: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday termed Model Town report defective, saying the evidence on which the document was based was irrelevant in the eyes of the law. “We did not publish the report earlier because we believe in rule of law”, said Rana Sana, addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
Announcing that the report could be downloaded from the Directorate General Public Relations’ website, he requested the honourable judiciary that some other inquiry commission reports were yet to be made public and they could please consider those as well. The reasons for not making the report public earlier were multifold, he added.
Rana Sana said the chief minister decided not to make the report public because the appointment of the commission was challenged by the PAT, which never accepted it. This, he said, caused legal complications and complexities in releasing the report. The second most important reason was that “the report is inconclusive, it does not fix responsibility on any government or police official,” he said, adding that there was also a possibility of the report being misused to further inflammatory sectarian agenda.
“Although, I respect Justice Najafi but I have the right to point out whatever legal deficiencies there are in the report,” said the veteran PML-N leader. “It is rather interesting that the inquiry tribunal did not visit the place of occurrence.”
He also pointed that Justice Najfi stated in his report that he could not find enough plausible information to fix responsibility on any individual, yet he wrote, “Reader of report can easily fix the responsibility although tribunal could not reach a conclusive fixing of responsibility”. Justice Khalil-ur-Rahman had also stated in his analysis of the report that “it does not affect the FIR, prosecution or investigation of the case,” Rana Sana added.
“There is not a single word in the report that fixes

responsibility on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The report mentions that when the CM was notified of this issue he told the secretary to visit [the spot] to disengage the police and protesters,” said the law minister.
“The report does not even express complete confidence in this as well and expresses doubt if the CM’s directions were maybe not communicated, maybe not communicated in real spirit. This report is only trying to make this remark doubtful,” he said.
“Shahbaz recorded his statement before the tribunal, and accorded to the law of the land. The statement is either accepted or confronted by the tribunal. The chief minister was never summoned in front of the tribunal according to the law of land, therefore that statement has attained finality,” he told.
The chief minister decided to seek an overview of Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman of the report, instead of making the inconclusive findings public to the millions to make their own opinion, he stated.
Talking about himself, Rana Sana said the report accused him of presiding over a meeting with one of the items being the removal of barriers as part of an anti-encroachment drive. He disputed this observation and said the removal of barriers had never been a part of the agenda and was discussed with him after the meeting by the official concerned.
“The chief secretary, home secretary, members of intelligence agencies and other officials were also present in this meeting and they are witness to this fact,” he stated. No secret orders were given or recorded regarding carrying out an armed raid on the PAT headquarters, Rana Sana stressed.
Talking about the information on which the report is based, he said the evidence was either from the government side or security agencies, as PAT had boycotted the inquiry completely and refused to contribute. The tribunal, therefore, relied upon source reports that were secondary evidence and defective in the eyes of the law, he added.
“Even those reports have not been tagged with the tribunal inquiry report despite repeated reminders by the government and are still missing to this day,” he added.
Rana Sana said, “While the tribunal report fails to fix responsibility on who fired first, the agency reports mention that firearms were fired from both sides.”
He said Qadri needed bodies to make their Islamabad sit-in a success and had been using the issue for political mileage. He said Qadri had been complaining on the streets that justice was not being done, while at the same time, the PAT workers and members had been recording their statement in persuasion of their complaint before the anti-terrorism court (ATC).
He said the delay in the judicial process was because of the PAT itself as they had changed their stance several times through multiple FIRs and then submitting a complaint against 135 persons in the ATC. The ATC had already acquitted the 12 main Political leaders who were accused by PAT of offering settlement at the PML-N office, because of total absence of evidence, he mentioned. The ATC had also rejected the application to incorporate the tribunal report as evidence, he added.
Talking about the sectarian aspect in the report, Rana Sana said there were no sectarian divide or preferences in recruitment of police and to assume anything of the sort would be outright wrong and a dangerous assertion that could spark sectarian conflicts.  
“Police is never made to act on sectarian basis as it comprises all sects,” he said. They were not instigated with any sectarian slogans and there is no evidence that the slogans flared sectarian conflict at the spot, Rana Sana noted.

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