H. E. Mr. Jonathan FRIED
World Trade Organisation
Dr Tauqir Shah has been appointed as ambassador of Pakistan to the World Trade Organization.
We write to apprise you of his unsuitability and unfortunate background of his appointment to WTO.
On the 17th of June 2014 the government sent the police to carry out an armed operation at the head office of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) and the residence of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri in Lahore, which continued for approximately fifteen hours. Fourteen innocent unarmed civilians including two women, one of whom was pregnant, were killed and more than eighty five people were injured by live firing and unprovoked aggression by the police. This operation is the worst of its kind in any democratic country and a gross violation of basic human rights.
While the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif was commanding the police operation in Model Town area of the provincial capital, Lahore, Dr Tauqir Shah happened to be his principal secretary who was coordinating CM’s instructions to the field actors.
On 20th of June as a result of great public pressure, CM Punjab removed Dr Tauqir Shah from the post of his principal secretary. Now Dr. Shah has been appointed as ambassador to WTO against the laid down formula. He has zero experience of commerce and trade, and is only a grade 20 officer whereas the post of ambassador requires grade 20 appointment. Dr Shah’s appointment has been made only reward him for his role in model town massacre.
We being the aggrieved party in the massacre, write to convey our concern on his appointment, and submit that his appointment may be turned down view of his criminal involvement in model town Massacre.
A brief on the Model Town Massacre along with newspapers clipping showing Involvement of Dr Shah in the incident are attached for your perusal.
Dr Raheeq A Abbasi
Model Town Massacre
On June 17, 2014 the government of Pakistan, without any prior legal notice, sent a Punjab police contingent to the residence of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, Chairman Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and the founding leader of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI), and the central secretariat of his organisation, to remove the cemented barriers from outside the entrances of both of them in Model Town, Lahore, Pakistan. The barriers in question had been placed there in 2011 to provide security cover to Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s residence and the secretariat due to death threats received from terrorist organizations on publishing the religious edict ‘Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombing’. The construction of barriers at the site was ordered by the Lahore High Court four years earlier. However, on the tragic night of June 17, 2014, without observing any legal procedure, a fully armed police constabulary led by a large number of senior police officials cordoned off the vicinity to conduct the pre-planned police operation of removing the barriers by force. The resultant aggression led to the loss of 14 innocent civilians including women with 85 seriously injured by direct firing using live rounds as the police indiscriminately opened fire on unarmed civilians.
Sledge Hammer to Crack a Walnut
The then Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah and Dr. Tauqir Shah principal secretary to chief minister Punjab jointly supervised and directed the entire operation. They had carried out all the necessary homework in order to fully accomplish their desired operation. To remove only a few barriers, a huge police formation was deployed all around the area. A person not less than DIG operations Lahore was physically present on the scene with a team of dozens of police officers. DIG Operations Lahore Rana Abdul Jabbar was accompanied by Tariq Aziz SP Model Town, AC Model Town, SP Headquarters Alias, SP Civil Lines Umar Cheema, SP Security Salman, SHO Kahna, Inspector Ishtiaq and SHO Nashtar Town Ahmed Usman. In addition, several senior police officers were also present. They were told that all the security barriers were set up four years back under the orders of Lahore High Court and the police and that the written orders could also be presented. DIG Operations replied that CM Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif through Dr. Tauqir Shah and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had given them strict orders to remove the barriers in front of Qadri’s house even if they had to kill any number of people.
Background to Massacre & Violence
CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif had seen in January 2013 how the leader of Minhaj-ul-Quran International Dr Tahir ul-Qadri had marched to Islamabad with an ocean of people. The protest had attracted hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life who formed the long march calling for electoral reforms in order to block the re-election of another corrupt government. Men and women, old and young, showed their firm resolve to endure the freezing weather and held fast to the objective of electoral reforms according to the articles 62, 63 and 218 of the constitution. On the final day, the government succumbed to the protest march and an agreement was signed by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, senior politicians and Dr Qadri for electoral reforms, which would ensure a brighter future for the upcoming elections.
The agreement also sought to enhance the scrutiny process of the election candidates as per the conditions laid down in the constitution of Pakistan. It was pledged that the National Assembly would be dissolved before March 16, 2013 with the elections to be held within 90 days, following the scrutiny of the nominees under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan. The government failed to keep its promises and none of the conditions contained in the aforementioned agreements were implemented. Later, the 11 May 2013 general elections were massively rigged by PMLN with the criminal collaboration of ECP through their ROs. Dr Qadri had boycotted the elections and declared that they would be totally rigged and the mandate of the people of Pakistan would be plundered. On 11 May 2013, the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) held sit-ins to protest against the unfair and unconstitutional elections. PAT was at war against the corrupt electoral system and sought to get the constitution implemented at all cost. Dr Qadri had declared to return to Pakistan and go for the jugular to erase the corrupt system.
Punjab Govt’s Heinous Design: Cutting the Roots of Dr Qadri
The arrival of Dr Qadri was scheduled on June 23, 2014. The PMLN leadership, scared of his street power, planned and decided to nip the forthcoming protest politics in the bud. To pre-empt any political activity by Dr Qadri after his arrival to Pakistan, the Pakistani authorities in Lahore planned to cut the roots of Dr Qadri by eliminating his two sons residing in Model Town Lahore, capturing the MQI secretariat and declaring it a terrorist organization. So they planned to execute the heinous police operation to achieve these objectives. They sent the police on the pretext of removing the barriers. Hence, they executed this illegal action, carried out police brutality upon the members of MQI and PAT together with members of the public. They massacred 14 innocent men and women in order to undermine the efforts of Dr Qadri.
Basically the June 17, 2014 attack was, in part, a response to Dr Qadri’s struggle against the corrupt electoral system which leads to the mandate of the people of Pakistan being stolen at every election.
Events on June 17, 2014
As stated above, on June 17, 2014 Lahore police attacked the residence of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri and the central secretariat of MQI and PAT at 01:30 in the morning. The police was fully armed with live ammunition, heavily equipped with batons and tear gas, bulldozers and armoured vehicles in an apparent attempt to remove the barriers. However, they had invaded Dr Qadri’s house to assassinate his sons hence wiping out the future leadership of PAT. Bulldozers, armoured vehicles and commandos of the elite force were used in this operation. They knew the scale of the operation they were about to launch. There are eyewitness accounts and hours of video coverage that was shown live on scores of private TV channels, showing the police indiscriminately shooting at peaceful civilians who were protesting against the police action outside Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s residence and the MQI secretariat. They had deployed snipers and shooters on the roofs of the neighbouring houses around Dr Qadri’s residence. The attached CD includes some pictures and TV recording of the brutality meted out by police and the terrorist agents of the Government of the Punjab as the day unfolded.
It is pertinent to mention here that the attack by Punjab Police continued from midnight till afternoon. The news spread like wildfire across the country through electronic and print media. Members of the general public, civil society and workers of MQI gathered around the Secretariat. In a pre-planned move, the police mercilessly and relentlessly baton-charged and fired live rounds and tear gas shells on innocent people. There are recorded instances and video evidences wherein some cases of “targeted shootings” were conducted by the police. Random direct firing at unarmed civilians and even point blank shots were fired. The police mercilessly butchered the innocent PAT/MQI workers who were running away to save their lives. In some cases, with hands tied behind their backs, they were pushed, pulled, dragged and severely beaten or were injured by gunshots. Many were ruthlessly murdered by the police. As mentioned above, it resulted in the death of 14 innocent men and women and 85 seriously injured PAT workers. Even the injured were beaten into Police vans. The police did not give ambulances and medical staff safe access to the injured. While this brutality and barbarism continued and people were being ruthlessly slaughtered, the matter was raised on the floor of the Punjab Assembly, which was in progress at that time, by the leader of the opposition Mian Mahmood ur Rahseed.
Taking Over and Plundering MQI Secretariat Building
DIG Operations Lahore and SP Model Town ordered Aftab Ahmed DSP Model Town and Rizwan Hashmi SHO Faisal Town to take the police contingent to the MQI Secretariat building and demolish it. They took a large police party accompanied by several other senior police officers whose names are not known and attacked the Secretariat directly firing live rounds and tear-gas. They brutally attacked receptionist Abdul Mannan Warsi and security in-charge Imtiaz Awan at the gate, beat them up and took them away. They did a great damage to the buildings around. They did not honour the sanctity of Ghosha-e-Durood constructed inside the Secretariat, denigrating the holy Quran placed inside it. They fired indiscriminately. They took away whatever they could. They snatched purses and mobiles from females. Gullu Butt, a police tout, under the supervision of senior police officers continued damaging cars and other transports belonging to visitors. He also took valuables from inside these vehicles. DIG Operation Lahore and SP Model Town were seen embracing Gullu Butt appreciating his performance.
The Model Town massacre was an open act of “state terrorism”. This is an incident of the gross violation of the human rights of citizens by the State with the aim of eradicating political opponents; protecting the fake, unconstitutional and corrupt electoral system; keeping the power-grab-mafia intact and teach the political opponents a lesson so that they no longer criticize, oppose or challenge the illegal acts of the Government.
When the pressure against the mass-killing mounted, the Punjab Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah was forced to resign on June 21, 2014. Further evidence has been obtained which proves that the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shabaz Shariff monitored, followed up and gave instructions throughout the whole of this massacre. They had covertly deployed terrorists from their militant wing into the police who remained hand-in-hand with the police shooters. One of them was the close ally of CM Punjab known as Gullu Butt. He is nicknamed as the “Lion of Lahore” by the leaders of the incumbent PMLN government.
Mr Shabaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab is on record saying that he was unaware of the June 17, 2014 carnage. This statement is obviously false as the siege lasted some 10 to 12 hours and was telecast ‘live’ across most of the TV channels in Pakistan. Evidence has since emerged that Mr Shabaz Sharif was an actual accomplice and knew of this operation, which was undertaken under his direct supervision and guidance, thus he should be brought to justice and put on trial for murder.
Removing the potential approver Dr Tauqir Shah from the scene
Dr Tauqir Shah was the CM’s principal staff officer (PSO) who performed the pivotal role in executing the Model Town Massacre plan. While DIG Operations was physically present on the scene, supervising the police force and ensuring that the instructions were carried out, Rana Sanaullah was playing a supportive role behind the scenes. The mechanics were so designed that principal secretary to CM Dr Tauqir Shah would take instructions directly from CM and pass them onto Rana Sanaullah and DIG Operations. This makes Tauqir Shah the most import link in the entire operation which involved mass killing, ruthless beating and arrests of innocent MQI/PAT workers and destruction of property. Later, Mr Dr Tauqir Shah was removed from the PSO appointment and made an OSD.
It was on November 20, 2014 when Dr Qadri, after arriving back home from Europe, revealed in a press conference at his residence that former Principal Secretary of the Chief Minister was being appointed as ambassador in Geneva to the WTO Mission lest he should become an approver. The appointment to the ambassadorial assignment had been put on hold till the completion of his training at the Staff College. He said that the news of making Dr Tauqir Shah OSD was also incorrect as he accompanies the rulers in all of their foreign trips. The Ministry of Commerce proposed seven names in the shortlist for appointment as ambassador but the rulers added the eighth name of Dr Tauquir Shah in the list, which was rejected on merit by the Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastigir but both Sharif brothers were insisting on him being appointed to the post.
On January 8, 2015 Dr Tauqir Shah was appointed as ambassador to the World Trade Organization, violating the set criteria that required the appointment of an officer of Grade 21/22 with rich trade and commerce experience from the Custom’s Group. Dr Tauqir Shah belongs to DMG and is a Grade 20 Officer with no relevant experience that is required at the WTO. Over 70 countries of the world are represented at WTO by their ambassadors and a competent person is needed to represent each country. However, the murder suspects PM and CM Punjab, fearing he may become an approver, have removed him from the scene in this way at the cost of the country’s effective representation at the WTO.
It is also pertinent to mention that the apparent reason given for the vicious attack was that security barriers had to be removed from outside the MQI secretariat and residence of Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri; it is a fact that the Punjab Government was fully aware that the barricades had been lawfully erected under a circular issued by the Police Station Model Town Lahore and under the orders of the Lahore High Court. The circulars and the orders were shown to the officers spearheading the attack by the Secretary General of MQI who stated that there was no justification for the attack. If the actual intention was to remove the barricades then there was no need for such a large armed contingent of police coming at midnight without any prior notice and orders. The mala fide intention is unequivocally established.
An All Party Conference (APC) was held on June 2014 in Lahore attended by 50 members of both religious and political parties. The APC condemned the massacre coupled with a five-point statement demanding the immediate resignation of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and the formation of an impartial three-member bench of the Supreme Court to investigate this carnage, but the Government remained unmoved on this demand of the APC.
In view of the proven state terrorism and the fact that the Punjab Police and its superior officials were directly in contact with the top hierarchy of the Government, including the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Chief Minister of Punjab, Rana Sanaullah and others, making them all murder suspects in the case; this is not a typical and ordinary murder case, but a case requiring a special process of investigation because of the accusations levied against major state functionaries.
Fir Registered Against the Victims of the Police Operation
As part of the plan, the police who killed 14 including two women and seriously injured 85 people, registered an FIR (First Information Report) against PAT workers in the hundreds on the evening of June 17. In the registered FIR, the office bearers of MQI and PAT were accused of terrorism and murdering their own people. They also included the name of Dr Hussain Mohiuddin Qadri among the accused although the latter was not physically present on the night of June 17. This also proves the mala fide intent to entangle the PAT leadership in a terrorism case. Later, when they learnt the reality, CM Punjab had his name removed from the FIR.
Then the government formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to conduct the investigation of the case. This was a common act of the government in first committing the murders and later trapping the victims in exhaustive legal procedures. MQI and PAT rejected the JIT and put up an application for the registration of a FIR against the murderers but it was not registered. The government continued a one-sided investigation with the office bearers of the MQI being declared as absconders.
The Model Town massacre was seen live on television and people saw how a sitting government was using state machinery and police force to kill and injure innocent men, women and children. There was a huge public hue and cry, both at national and international levels. This built up pressure against the criminal Punjab rulers who had perpetrated mass-killing in clear daylight. In a face-saving attempt they ordered a one-member Judicial Commission comprising Mr. Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, Lahore High Court.
The Judicial Commission concluded its report signed and handed over to the Government of Punjab. This fact is also mentioned in The News, Dawn and Daily Times editions dated August 10, 2014. The Report is public property and the people of Pakistan have a fundamental human right to have this report published and disseminated. It was expected that the Government of Punjab would fulfil its obligation and publish the report accordingly. However, in spite of the demands by various persons, as well as the media, the Government of Punjab is concealing the Report and has deliberately failed to make the Report public. The Government of Punjab has refused to supply the copy of the report to any person. There are rumours that the Government of Punjab is surreptitiously and fraudulently attempting to tamper with the Report and/or even trying to destroy it. The Judicial Commission report is not being provided by the Government of the Punjab, which shows that the Government of Punjab is trying to hide something in the report that is damaging to its reputation and senior officials. Reportedly, the chief minister Punjab in his sworn affidavit submitted that he came to know of the incident in the morning before any person had been killed which is contrary to his telecast statement on the day of incident in which he declared that he was not aware of this incident at all.
Registration of MQI FIR and Formulation of Fake JIT
PAT arranged an historic Inqilab March on August 14, which was converted into a 70-day sit-in in Islamabad. Under the public pressure, Government registered the FIR during the sit-in on the application of MQI. However, without following the due process of law and without taking the aggrieved parties in confidence, another Joint Investigation Team was constituted consisting of five members headed by the CCPO Quetta Abdul Razzaq Cheema consisting of Shehzad Akbar SSP, Khalid Abubakar DSP, CIA Muhammad Ali, IB Colonel Ahmad.
The working of the JIT, since it took over the investigation, instead of investigating matters has started raiding the residences of the affectees in order to pressurize and harass them as a result of which the affectees and witnesses have serious apprehension of illegal arrest and detention. It is pertinent to mention here that one of the accused Omer Virk, Superintendent of police, Punjab Police has been specifically deputed to harass the witnesses and has visited their homes.
In view of the aforesaid, this is a case in which investigation can only be conducted by an independent body headed by Inspector general police Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK) and the members of intelligence agencies i.e. ISI, MI, IB be formed in consultation with the aggrieved party, as per law.
The formulation of JIT has to be executed under the law that was approved on June 18, 2014. According to the law, the JIT has to be constituted according to the aspirations of the aggrieved party and the members have to be taken from ISI, IB, MI and the Police. A member cannot be taken against the desire of the aggrieved party. However, as it stands, the government of Pakistan has initiated a one-sided investigation through a fake JIT comprising of members that are favourable towards to the accused. The composition of the JIT has murdered justice and MQI has forcefully rejected it and declared that its findings will not be acceptable to them. Many of the members of investigatory panel constituting the committee are in fact the original perpetrators of the massacre. There is no doubt that the current investigation is entirely prejudiced, being conducted with mala fide intent and is a mere mockery of the judiciary. The Punjab police is extensively arresting the PAT workers all over Punjab and the Federal Capital to harass them and the leadership with the sole intention of forcing them to accept the fraudulent JIT that would acquit the perpetrators of murder.
Apart from the police personnel named above, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Sharif, Rana Sanaullah, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pervez Rashid, Abid Sher Ali, and Chaudhary Nisar, under a well-contemplated plan, ordered the police officers to attack the residence of Dr Qadri and the MQI Secretariat. In that, they murdered 14 innocent PAT workers and seriously injured 85 others, in addition to damaging property inside the MQI Secretariat and the residence of Dr Qadri. This took place exactly according to the mandate given by them. They are all equally responsible for the crime of mass murder and wounding people and damaging property and buildings. To conclude, international forums and human right organisations, especially European Union are called upon to initiate an international enquiry into this brutal massacre, a criminal act of state oppression, mass killing and state terrorism against the peaceful and unarmed citizens engaged in the pursuit of their commitment to uphold democratic values and human rights all over the world.