LAHORE: “Who had ordered opening fire on protesters?” was the most frequently asked question (FAQ) by citizens, civil society activists and other circles after overnight clashes between the police and activists of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) claimed the lives of eight people in Model Town on Tuesday.
Since the police, who also brutally beat up PAT activists throughout, had shot at innocent citizens, neither the police nor government officials were taking the responsibility of the orders to open fire.
According to security experts, high-level meetings are held in the supervision of the chief minister before any such operation where all decisions are made. The decision to open fire or to even resorting to batten charge are on the agenda of such meetings.
However, experts said, if the chief minister is not available or he does not issue orders, then the law minister is asked to do the needful in such situations.
The experts further said that in an incident where over 50 protesters or innocent citizens were injured and eight were killed due to police firing, and none of policemen was injured by opposition’s firing, it is final that some of officials, including the inspector general of police (IGP), deputy inspector general (DIG) operations, capital city police officer (CCPO), law minister or the chief minister, had ordered the police to open fire.
The situation went worse when none of the authorities concerned accepted the responsibility of issuing orders to open fire.
IGP Mushtaq Sukhaira and CCPO Chuadhry Shafiq Gujjar denied the allegation of brutal torture on protesters in a press conference.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also denied allegations against him in a press conference. He even invited persons feeling aggrieved by the police action to lodge a case against him.
Talking to Daily Times, a number of citizens expressed concerns and demanded the judiciary to play its role in providing justice to the families of the victims. They condemned the brutal torture of police on youth, women and elders and demanded that police must change its tyrannical attitude.
A citizen named Amir said that today’s incident of brutal torture reminded him of black era of General Ziaul Haq in which people especially those, who stood for their rights, were treated in this way.
He said that he is neither a follower of PAT Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri nor he believes in Dr Qadri’s ideology, but still he believes that this kind of attitude demonstrated by the police and the government was condemnable. “The thing that hurt me the most was torture on elders and women,” he added. Amir further said that opening fire on innocent citizens protesting for rights was not humanity and that “anyone, who had ordered this action, must be hanged.”
Another citizen, Asia Bibi, said that she had not seen such brutal torture on women in her life. She said that this was extremely awful that no one had taken the responsibility of orders to open fire on protesters.
The police and the government were now afraid of citizens and media and that was why no one was taking responsibility, she added.
She said that the chief minister, being the chief executive of the province, must accept the responsibility, as it was not possible that he was not aware of the decision of opening fire on protesters.
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