Former defence minister says he recorded ‘incomplete’ testimony which would be completed soon

  • Nation should know real elements behind country’s downfall: Asif.
  • Says no decisive outcome of many high-powered probes in past events.
  • “Commission should conduct open hearings, allow media coverage”

 


 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) central leader Khawaja Asif has demanded an “open hearing” of the commission probing the infamous 2017 Faizabad sit-in.

Asif, the former defence minister, in a post on X, confirmed that he appeared before the Faizabad sit-in probe commission on Thursday (today) where he recorded his “incomplete” testimony which would be completed soon.

He opined that open hearings should be conducted by the commission besides allowing their media coverage to let the nation know the real elements behind the country’s downfall for 75 years.

The senior politician complained that no decisive outcome was ever seen after the constitution of several commissions probing high-profile events in history.

Asif also urged all stakeholders to show courage to face the consequences now and redeem their mistakes of the past.

Police use tear gas to disperse supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), during a protest in Lahore on April 12, 2021, after the arrest of their leader. — AFP
Police use tear gas to disperse supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), during a protest in Lahore on April 12, 2021, after the arrest of their leader. — AFP

The high-powered commission was constituted by the caretaker government last year to ascertain the “role and directions” of all “concerned” officials in the management and handling of the Faizabad sit-in in 2017 staged by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) against the then-PML-N government.

Letters to services chiefs

In another key development, Defence Secretary Lt Gen (retd) Hamooduz-Zaman Khan, in line with the Supreme Court’s directives, wrote letters to the three services chiefs to review the role of their officers in the Faizabad dharna.

In the letters to army, air and naval chiefs, the defence secretary directed the services chiefs to take action against the officers involved in the protest sit-in and send their written statements to the Faizabad inquiry commission, The News reported citing sources.

Zaman wrote the letters to fix the responsibility of those officers providing facilities to the TLP and the role of different institutions in staging the sit-in, according to the sources.

High-profile personatlies being questioned

Last week, former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hameed recorded his statement before the Faizabad sit-in commission, denying allegations of conspiring against the government, sources told Geo News.

The former spymaster was summoned by the panel — investigating the TLP sit-in — thrice but he failed to appear before it.

He was then sent a questionnaire by the commission to which he responded and stated that he held negotiations with the TLP on the directions of the government.

According to the sources, the commission had summoned the former army officer on January 2 but he didn’t appear before the panel.

The probe panel had also summoned PML-N President and former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif on January 3 but he too didn’t appear and requested the commission to send him questions.

He has now been sent a 21-point questionnaire to answer.

Earlier, ex-prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, ex-interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, then-secretary to PM Fawad Hasan Fawad, and other senior officials serving in Islamabad and Punjab who were involved in the episode had appeared before the probe panel.

The inquiry commission is required to submit its report to the top court on January 22.

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