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Sahiwal ‘shootout’ stirs heated debate in National Assembly

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Sahiwal tragic incident, in which four people were killed in a Punjab police alleged encounter, stirred a heated debate in the lower house of parliament on Monday with the opposition hitting out at the government over its ‘failure to rein in’ law enforcement agencies.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif said that the opposition would not rest till the truth behind the Sahiwal police ‘encounter’ comes out.

Four people – including two women – were killed in a shady encounter involving Punjab’s counter-terrorism police on a highway in the Qadirabad area of Sahiwal district on Saturday.
The leader of the opposition while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly said the opposition would not hold sit-ins, however, the government must give answers to the people over the incident.

Khawaja Asif, another PML-N senior leader, slammed provincial law enforcement agencies over their alleged criminal negligence and inhumane behaviour in the Sahiwal incident.

“Those who should eliminate terrorism have themselves become terrorists,” Asif added.

He also criticised the PTI government and accused it of having double standards. “The government of Punjab has become a party in the [Sahiwal ‘encounter’] matter.”

The former foreign minster called for the government to form a parliamentary committee to probe into the incident.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari hit back at the opposition, saying the previous governments had enabled the law enforcement agencies to carry out such fake encounters. “They [opposition parties] don’t want to play a constructive role in how to bring to an end such incidents.”

She said the opposition only wants to use the tragedy to further its own political agenda.