ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction over the report submitted by an inquiry commission formed to investigate the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakis­tan’s (TLP) 2017 Faizabad sit-in, observing that the commission had not adhered to the Terms of Reference (ToR). The commission constituted to probe the 2017 Faizabad sit-in was constituted under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 2017 to ensure compliance with the February 6, 2019, apex court verdict, authored by then-Justice Qazi Faez Isa. Although the primary objective of setting up the Faizabad commission was to fix responsibility for the failures that led to the TLP sit-in spiralling out of control, the commission’s report had stopped short of placing the blame directly on any individual’s shoulders. The commission noted that since no one from among the then-prime minister, former ministers for law and interior and the former Punjab chief minister had accused intelligence agencies of facilitating the protesters, nor was any evidence furnished to this effect, the commission could not connect any organisation or state official with the TLP dharna. Today’s federal cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, directed the formation of a special cabinet committee that would submit its recommendations on the matter. Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Awan submitted an inquiry report on the matter and gave a detailed briefing to the cabinet, the PM Office said in a press release. The Supreme Court previously criticised the report, describing it as “replete with clichés, platitudes, and homilies, often as a substitute for substance”. A three-page order issued by the Supreme Court had noted that the commission’s report did not address the ToRs.The court observed that the report was biased and did not consider other aspects of the judgment and orders subsequently passed by the court. The commission’s report was also criticised for exonerating the perpetrators of violence and castigating those at the political helm. The SC noted the report preferred the statement of one person over the testimony of another without explanation, demonstrating bias and compromising the commission’s impartiality. Leaders from the two main parties in the ruling coalition had also slammed the report, saying that it only placed responsibility on politicians. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had said that it had “no authenticity or credibility” while former Senate chairman and veteran PPP leader Raza Rabbani had called the report “a non-starter”. “It chose to close the matter while avoiding further controversy and avoided to fix any responsibility,” Rabbani noted, adding: “It has tried to shift the burden on the civilian government of Punjab, exonerating the then DGs of Rangers and ISI.”



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