Model Town incident report: LHC reserves verdict on Punjab govt’s appeal
LAHORE: A larger bench of the Lahore High Court on Friday reserved its verdict on an appeal of the Punjab government challenging the verdict that directed it to make the Model Town incident report public.
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, reserved the judgment after hearing final arguments from the counsel for the provincial government and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).
A single bench of LHC had earlier allowed a petition filed by the PAT, directing the government to publish and public Justice Baqar Najafi Commission’s report.
Subsequently, the government filed an intra-court appeal against the verdict, requesting the court to set it aside.
Khawaja Haris, who represented the government, contended that the matter was sub-judice before a trial court and releasing the report at this moment will affect and jeopardize the trial. Therefore, the verdict of the single bench to release the report should be declared null and void.
The PAT counsel, however, argued the report was a public document and should be declassified. He added the government was bound under the Right to Information Act to provide access to such information.
The counsel maintained that the government was itself accused in the Model Town incident, and thus it did not make the report public.
Earlier, the provincial government presented to the bench the sealed report of the inquiry conducted by LHC judge Baqar Najafi into the Model Town incident that had left over a dozen people dead and more than a hundred injured.
On July 17, 2014, 14 people were killed and 100 others injured when the police opened fire to disperse protesting PAT workers during an anti-encroachment operation outside the residence of PAT chief Dr. Tahirul Qadri.