LAHORE - PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri has rejected the newly-formed joint investigation team to probe the Model Town incident, reiterating his demand for the resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

“The formation of the JIT after five months is a joke with the victims’ families. We reject it. Nawaz Sharif should have become head of the JIT if he had to form such a team; why did you waste five months if you were to form this JIT,” he said.

Addressing a news conference here on Friday via video-link from Canada, he said he would not accept any inquiry until the resignation of the Punjab chief minister. He said that he had presented three demands before the Chief of Army Staff including registration of an FIR of the incident, formation of impartial JIT and chief minister’s resignation.

“The COAS had termed the PAT’s all three demands fair but only one of them could be fulfilled,” he regretted, urging the army chief to get them justice.

Applauding General Raheel Sharif, he added, “We didn’t request the COAS to become a mediator; rather, it was Nawaz Sharif who did it. The FIR into the Model Town tragedy was also registered due to the army chief.” he said.

Dr Qadri said that Abdur Razaq Cheema was a family friend of Sharifs and “we have already declared him persona non grata.” He added that five out of six JIT members were of the government’s favourites. He said the head of the JIT should be from KP and Shahbaz Sharif must resign before the start of investigation.

“Issuing warrants against me is a coward act of the government. There are cases registered against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and three of their ministers. Who will issue their arrest warrants?”

“Where does the question of a deal or retribution money arise from when the JIT has been rejected?” questioned the PAT chief. He said that the rulers’ faces are tainted with the blood of the Model Town martyrs whose sacrifice would not go wasted.