Former Director-General of ISI submitted a written response to the Faizabad sit-in commission

Retired Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed, the former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has submitted a written response to the inquiry commission investigating the 2017 sit-in by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) at Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad, according to sources on Thursday.

Conversely, former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has requested the commission to furnish him with a questionnaire in advance for better preparation before his appearance.

Sources reveal that the questionnaire has been dispatched to Mr. Sharif, who held the position of chief minister of Punjab during the TLP’s sit-in in November 2017.

The inquiry commission, consisting of former police officers Syed Akhtar Shah and Tahir Alam Khan, along with Additional Interior Secretary Khushal Khan, was established by the federal government in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directive from November last year. The commission had summoned the former ISI chief, Mr. Sharif, and the then defence minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

Although summoned through the Ministry of Defence, the former ISI DG, Gen Hameed, could not personally appear before the commission due to security concerns. Consequently, the commission decided to send him a questionnaire.

Khawaja Asif expressed his apology to the commission, citing health issues preventing his appearance. Additional Inspector General of Police Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Peshawar Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja, who was the Regional Police Officer Rawalpindi during the sit-in, has already appeared before the commission to record his statement.

The commission’s questionnaire, aligned with the Terms of Reference (ToR) and directives of the Supreme Court, aims to address key questions, including the lack of efforts to intercept TLP protesters before reaching Islamabad, the failure to remove them from the sit-in venue, the unsuccessful police operation against them, and the sources of financial and material support for the sit-in.

Mr. Sharif is expected to be questioned about his office’s role during TLP’s march towards Islamabad, efforts made to intercept them, orders issued from his office, and reasons for non-implementation of such directives.

The commission has already questioned former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Absar Alam, and former Inspector General of Police Punjab Arif Nawaz. In addition, the staff of a popular food outlet in Islamabad was called to inquire about bulk food purchases for the sit-in participants and the payment details.

The commission has acquired nearly all relevant records related to the TLP’s sit-in from the relevant departments.

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