Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi on Thursday ordered the suspension of police officers, including the Station House Officer, involved in leaking the “confession” of the alleged shooter who targeted the long march of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), killing one man and injuring Imran Khan, among others.
Within an hour of the shooting, police leaked a “confession” of the alleged shooter to various media channels in which he says he was acting independently and only wanted to harm Khan because he was “misleading” the public and was playing songs from his container during the call to azaan. The video damaged the narrative being peddled by the PTI, which has accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Maj. Gen. Faisal of the ISI for orchestrating the attack and demanded they be deposed. If it demands are not met, the party has warned, it would stage nationwide protests and “take revenge.”
In a video statement, Elahi said he had visited the PTI chief at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, where he was treated for bullet wounds, and had been assured Khan was in good health. Stressing that eyewitness statements suggested the shooter was not acting alone, he said an inquiry was required to determine if another attacker had fled the scene. “We want to know who is behind the incident and who trained the accused,” he said. “How much money he received and from where he was brought for the attack,” he said, adding that he had directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to constitute a high-level joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the attack on Imran Khan’s container in Wazirabad. This JIT, he said, would include the Counter-Terrorism Department.
According to the chief minister, the mobile phones of the suspended police officers have been confiscated to determine who leaked the confession of the suspect to media. He said the government also wished to know who police were in contact with regarding the incident.
Vowing to share the investigation report with media, he stressed that the “real culprits” would be brought to book.
Prior to issuing his video statement, the chief minister chaired an emergency meeting on the incident and directed the IGP to determine the motives behind the attack after an investigation.