The Punjab government on Wednesday admitted before a Senate committee that the encounter method which led to the killing of four people in Sahiwal earlier this month was wrong.
In his briefing to the Senate's Standing Committee on Human Rights on the tragic incident, Punjab Additional Home Secretary Fazeel Asghar admitted that the method employed by the Counter-Terrorism Department personnel was wrong, saying they should have first checked to see who was in the car despite their reservations about the alleged presence of a terrorist inside.
The additional home secretary told the committee that security forces were alerted to the threat of a major terror bid ahead of the incident, after the vehicle was caught on a camera and reported to the authorities. The encounter was carried out on the basis of the alert, he said.
Fazeel Asghar said whether or not the vehicle occupants fired at the CTD personnel would be made clear by the findings of the joint investigation team probing the incident. However, it was obvious thus far that Khalil and his family were innocent, he added.
On January 19, four people — including three members of a family — were killed in an alleged encounter in Sahiwal. CTD personnel said they had killed a local commander of militant organisation Daesh and three others in the operation. Eyewitnesses, however, disputed the claim and said the people in the car did not fire at officials, nor were any explosives recovered from the vehicle.
The dead included the driver of the car Zeeshan, who the authorities claimed was the suspect; Khalil, his wife and their teenage daughter.