Pakistani police on Monday refused to register a murder case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother and some top Cabinet Ministers despite a court order on framing of charges for their alleged role in the violence that killed 14 supporters of cleric Tahirul Qadri. The Lahore Sessions Court hearing the case related to the Model Town clashes on June 17 had ordered police to register a murder case on Saturday against 21 persons named by the Qadri-led Pakistan Awami Tahreek (PAT) in its complaint.
Fourteen PAT supporters, including two women, were killed and over 100 were wounded in deadly clashes with police after the authrities attempted to remove barricades near Qadri's headquarters.The court had ordered the registration of a murder case against Sharif, his brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, his nephew Hamza Shahbaz, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, State Minister Abid Sher Ali (also a relative of the Sharif), Punjab former law minister Rana Sanaullah and top police officers who took part in the "barricades removal operation".
A panel of PAT lawyers headed by advocate Mansur Rehman Afridi approached the Faisal Town police station today and produced the court's order to the policemen, seeking immediate registration of the case against those it has nominated in its application. "Despite showing the court's order, the reporting officer refused to register the FIR. He said he could not register the FIR without the approval of the station house officer (SHO)," Afridi told PTI. "We waited for the SHO for more than two hours at the police station but he did not turn up," he said, adding that the reporting officer only received PAT's application and said it would be sent to the legal department for its opinion.
Afridi said the PAT would move the court to proceed 'contempt' proceedings against the police and the PML-N Punjab government if they did not register the FIR on its application.
The reporting officer of the station said though the court orders have been received but they cannot proceed immediately in the absence of SHO, even as the lawyers said there is no way that the police could back out from filing the case after clear orders from the court. The Shahbaz Sharif-led government is likely to challenge the sessions court decision in the Lahore High Court this week. The Sessions Court decision has come at a time when thousands of supporters of Qadri and Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan are staging sit-ins in Islamabad in a bid to oust the Sharif-led government.