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Sahiwal encounter: PM Imran asks interior ministry to challenge ATC verdict

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran on Friday ordered the interior ministry to file an appeal against the verdict of the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) which acquitted all the suspects involved in the Sahiwal incident.

Media reported that the prime minister has asked the interior ministry to form a committee to investigate and highlight the faults of the prosecution in the case.

Also read: Sahiwal incident postmortem report: Police fired 22 shots at Khalil’s family

The prime minister has directed relevant authorities to prepare and present a report both to the Prime Minister Office and the Interior Ministry.

An anti-terrorism court in Lahore on Thursday acquitted all the suspects involved in the Sahiwal encounter on the basis of the benefit of the doubt.

The case was heard by Anti-Terrorism Court Number 1 Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta.

The suspects included Safdar Hussain, Ahsan Khan, Ramzan, Saifullah, Hasnain and Nasir Nawaz.

Also read: Sahiwal encounter: All suspects exonerated

The court dismissed the statements given by 49 witnesses including the victim Zeeshan’s brother Ehtisham and victim’s Khalil’s children. The witnesses refused to identify the suspects before the court.

On January 19, four people, including three of a family, were killed in an alleged shootout in Sahiwal, with the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel claiming they had killed a local commander of militant organisation Daesh and three others in the operation.

Eyewitnesses, however, disputed the claim and said the people in the car did not fire at officials, nor were any explosives recovered from the vehicle.

A Joint Investigation Team formed to probe the killings in its final report submitted last month said the slain family members were innocent and they were wrongly murdered. The report also recommended strict action against the CTD officials who made changes in the record.

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