The killing of four people by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in a shady encounter near Sahiwal on Saturday drew an angry reaction from all the major political parties of the country. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari vehemently condemned the killing of innocent citizens at the hands of Punjab Police. In his message, the PPP chairman said the killing of the citizens are a vivid proof that the government of PTI has made Punjab a ‘Police State’. “The killings are a message to the people of the country that they should not go out with their children,” he said, adding, “The killing of parents in front of their children has exposed all tall claims of good governance by the ruling PTI.”Bilawal said the PTI government and the prime minister claimed to transform Pakistan into a welfare state like Madina but they don’t know that the head of the Madina state used to hold responsibility for anything that would hurt the people. He said the announcement for inquiry into the killing of parents and children by the government is a sheer face-covering effort. Those who shuffled ranks and positions in police just to please friends can never ensure justice, he lamented. Bilawal said the entire government is dependent on Twitter handles and that they are only experts in maligning tactics. “The fact is that law of jungle has been imposed in Pakistan under PTI’s slogan of ‘New Pakistan’,” he asserted.PPP leader Khursheed Shah demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan tenders an apology to the nation over Sahiwal incident. He asked Imran Khan to seek resignation from the ministers who termed those killed in the incident ‘terrorists’, adding that those responsible should be brought to justice to bring an end to such incidents. The PPP leader criticized the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab police for calling the children ‘terrorists’. He maintained that when all facts were crystal clear, there was no need to form any joint investigation team (JIT).Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz urged the federal government to devise and enact the required legislation to prevent Sahiwal-type incidents in future. “If protectors become killers, then States do not survive,” he said, adding that the prime minister should consider this incident as an example. “The deceased family members were being called abductors and terrorists,” he said, while demanding severe punishment for the accused officials.Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq appealed to Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa to take notice of the police encounter in Sahiwal. “The entire nation is distressed at the killing of innocent citizens. Sahiwal incident didn’t happen in night’s darkness but in broad daylight,” he said, while addressing the protesters at the GT Road where he arrived to express solidarity with heirs of the victims. “The government suggested that the martyred people had links with terrorists but common sense doesn’t accept that a terrorist will take his family along in a car,” the JI leader said, adding that institutions had remained involved in such incidents in the past as well. He said the government changed its statement on the incident six to seven times in a few hours. He slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar over what he said their non-serious attitude.Published in Daily Times, January 21st 2019.