On January 19, 2019. four people were killed by Counter Terrorist Department (CTD) on a highway near Sahiwal.
The CTD officials termed the incident as an operation against “terrorists” conducted on “intelligence-based information”.
In the incident, the police fired indiscriminately at a car in which total seven people were present . As a result of firing, four died – Muhammad Khalil; his wife Nabila; their 13-year-old daughter Areeba, and Khalil’s friend Zeeshan Javed. Three minor siblings had luckily survived the carnage — Khalil’s son Mohammad Umair and two daughters Muniba and Jaziba.
CTD’s Accounts & JIT
Soon after the incident the police left the three children at a petrol pump telling people that those who were recently killed, were actually kidnappers.
After a video of the survivors went viral on social media, it created an outrage across the country, forcing the CTD officials to change their stance in which the victims were portrayed as ‘terrorists’ while they also added that few other terrorists had managed to flee and weapons including suicide jackets were also recovered from the car.
Later on, a JIT found three deceased innocents while confirming that Zeeshan Javed had links with a terror outfit. Although, Zeeshan’s family rejected the claim that he was a terrorist.
Earlier, CTD officials also alleged that the driver (Zeeshan) shot at them when intercepted, however, the statement was not verified by the eyewitnesses.
ATC Verdict & Justice
What was believed by many as open-and-shut case against the police, an Anti-terrorism court acquitted all six CTD officials named in the incident while giving them a benefit of doubt in October 2019. Ironically, the verdict was accepted by Khalil’s family, who once had blamed the CTD officials for threatening calls.
Now as the compensation money has been given to the victims’ family by the country’s premier, and the Punjab government has challenged the ATC’s verdict, we must consider all the efforts of the relevant authorities in the case, except serving justice.