The Supreme Court (SC) directed the Punjab government to submit a reply regarding the Sahiwal tragedy, in which four people were gunned down by the CTD personnel in 2019.

A two-member bench of the SC — Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Yahya Afridi — was hearing a case on Wednesday related to the bail of a cop named in a Sahiwal murder case.

“Innocent people were gunned down on a phone call in front of children,” remarked Justice Isa. Unable to understand what the Punjab government and police are doing, he added.

The Punjab additional prosecutor general responded that the case is undertrial at the high court.  Justice Qazi Faiz Isa directed the additional prosecutor general to present a report on the Sahiwal tragedy.

The Sahiwal tragedy

In January 2019, four people belonging to the same family, including two women, were killed in a controversial police encounter involving the Punjab police’s counter-terrorism department (CTD) on a highway in the Qadirabad area of Sahiwal district.

The CTD officials maintained that a car was signalled to stop along with a bike near Sahiwal Toll Plaza but the alleged terrorists resorted to firing, adding that three terrorists were able to flee away. “This incident was a continuation of the Jan 16 operation carried out in Faisalabad.”

The victims were identified as grocery store owner Mohammad Khalil, his wife Nabila, their 13-year-old daughter Areeba and their friend who was driving the car, Zeeshan Javed. Their son Umair Khalil sustained bullet wounds while his sister Muniba’s hand also sustained gunshot-related injuries and Hadiba, their younger sister remained unhurt.


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