The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday said the authority to form a judicial commission to investigate the Sahiwal tragedy rests solely with the government.

Hearing a joint petition against the Sahiwal joint investigation team (JIT) and the need for a judicial commission, a two-member bench led by LHC Chief Justice Sardar Shamim Ahmed Khan said the decision to initiate a judicial inquiry cannot be taken by the courts.

The bench has now given Prime Minister Imran Khan till Thursday to submit comments on the matter of forming a judicial commission.

When the petitioners’ counsel, Barrister Ehtesham, cited the Model Town judicial commission as a precedent, LHC chief justice said there was no such provision now as the law had since been changed.

The hearing also witnessed a terse exchange between Justice Khan and JIT head DIG Aijaz Shah, as the LHC chief justice reprimanded the senior police officer for failing to present the investigation report in court.

Justice Khan remarked that the Sahiwal tragedy probe was a case of particular significance and censured the investigation team for its failure to follow court orders.

The LHC bench ordered the federal government’s counsel to submit Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comments in court on Thursday, while also summoning all investigation records at the earliest.

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