Pakistan

Centre accuses Punjab of mishandling Wazirabad incident


The federal government on Monday accused the Punjab government of committing criminal negligence in connection with the Wazirabad incident, saying an FIR of the incident based on facts should immediately be registered on merit and not on conjectures or speculative allegations.

In a letter dated November 5 but released to the media on November 7, the federal government through the Ministry of Interior has pointed out several lapses, including failure to provide adequate security to ex-premier Imran Khan, delay in lodging the FIR, releasing of ‘confessional videos’, and not providing any information to the Centre, on part of the provincial government.

The release of the letter appears to be an attempt to build up the Centre's case against the Punjab government as the Supreme Court (SC) has already ordered the registration of the FIR in the matter.

On November 3, a PTI worker was killed and several others, including the PTI chairman, were injured in a gun attack on PTI’s long march at Wazirabad.

Through the letter, the interior ministry has conveyed the federal government's grave concerns on the mishandling of the high-profile case, which was evident from the fact that the FIR of the said case, ordinarily required to be registered within 24 hours of any incident, has not been registered even after the lapse of more than 36 hours.

Read: Imran urges Alvi to 'act now' to stop abuse of power

Actually, four days have passed since the incident.

The ministry said that the failure to register the FIR despite the fact that the incident took place in the presence of provincial police personnel at the scene is indicative of the provincial government's lackluster response to the unfortunate incident.

Following the incident, the letter read, the provincial government has exhibited a complete unwillingness to provide any kind of explanation regarding the incident including its failure to provide adequate security to the former premier and the clear lack of adherence to standard operating security procedures in relation to the convoy.

The federal government has also noted that the medico-legal examination of the former prime minister has not yet been carried out. It is also a matter of concern that the provincial government has failed to provide any updates regarding the weapon of offense and whether it has been forensically analyzed.

Moreover, it said, the crime scene was not secured for many hours after the incident which is again a violation of the prescribed procedures. Additionally, it added, no official information regarding the victims or their nature of the injuries has been released.

Finally, it read, the release of “confessional” videos of the alleged perpetrator points to serious lapses in the investigation process.

“The afore-mentioned failures of the provincial government and its functionaries are clear evidence of its mishandling of the matter and amounts to criminal negligence,” it stated.

The law and order situation in the province after the incident was not handled effectively which created great inconvenience for the general public, it maintained, the closure of main highways and roads by small groups of 'miscreants' paralyzed life in cities of Punjab and also affected inter-district movement.

Also read: PTI long march: Capital police warn of action against protests sans permission

It continued by stating that the inability of the provincial police and administration to handle the law and order situation violated the fundamental right of free movement guaranteed under Article 15 of the Constitution.

The attack by a 'mob of miscreants' on the Governor's House in Lahore on November 4 further demonstrated the mishandling of the situation by the provincial government, it said, which was unable to secure the office and residence of the highest constitutional officeholder of the province.

In view of the aforesaid, interior ministry stated, it is imperative that the provincial government immediately gears up its efforts to ensure the maintenance of law and order and protection of the life and property of all citizens.

“In the context of the incident at Wazirabad,” it concluded, “it is stated that FIR of the said case based on facts of the incident should be registered on merits and not on conjectures or speculative allegations immediately, without further loss of time as required under Section 154 of the CrPC 1898 by the concerned SHO or CTD Punjab as complainant as the delay is grossly illegal and has caused irreparable damage to prosecute the real accused.”


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