All Suspects In Sahiwal Encounter Case Acquitted By Court
All the suspects in the Sahiwal encounter case have been acquitted by a special anti-terrorism court in Lahore.
The court made the decision to exonerate the suspects by giving them the benefit of doubt. The verdict was announced after the completion of cross-questioning of the testimonies of government witnesses. The court has reportedly recorded statements of 49 witnesses, which includes the victims’ brother.
The case was heard by Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Arshad Bhutta.
In January, personnel of the Counter-Terrorism Department had opened fire on the passengers of a vehicle on a highway near Sahiwal. The passengers included Mohammad Khalil, his wife and their four children. The car was being driven by their neighbour, Zeeshan. Khalil’s three children had survived the attack.
Officials had claimed that they suspected Zeeshan of having links with a terrorist outfit. After the incident, police had initially tried to portray it as an incident of kidnapping whereby the police had tried to save the children. It was only after Khalil’s son talked to media and informed them that the slain were his parents that authorities changed their statement and stated that they were after Zeeshan, the driver, and the rest of the deaths had been termed collateral damage.
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