A full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday, ordered the Punjab Government to release contents of the Model Town judicial inquiry report within 30 days.
The bench ordered that the report be handed over to the affectees of the 2014 gory incident, which left 14 Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) party workers dead, within three days.
The court rejected an appeal filed by the PMLN-led Punjab government challenging the September 21 ruling by a single bench ordering Punjab home secretary to make the report public while allowing a petition filed by the heirs of the Model Town incident victims.
The defense counsel had submitted that it was feared that public and social order would be disturbed if the report was made public, whereas the government was duty-bound to maintain it.
The plaintiffs’ counsel had argued that releasing the inquiry report was clearly a matter of public interest, and the government was bound under the law to give the required information to the general public.
Meanwhile, according to reports, the Punjab provincial government will be challenging the report in the Supreme Court.
Talking to Geo News, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Zaeem Qadri said the inquiry report is not final, adding that that is the reason it is not being released to the public.
Talking to media after the court order, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri said his party has the option of protesting in case the government becomes a hurdle in the way of the report’s release. “If the government delayed in making the report public, it would tantamount to contempt of court.”
“For three years their (PML-N) ministers used to come on TV and deny their hand in the Model Town incident,” he said. “Our party representatives asked them simply to make the report public if they were not responsible but they did not have an answer to that,” he added.
In the aftermath of the 2014 tragic incident, a judicial tribunal headed by LHC’s Justice Ali Baqar Najafi had been constituted to find out facts and fix responsibility on the perpetrators.
The commission completed the inquiry and submitted the report to the Punjab government on August 9, 2014. However, the government refused to make it public.