Pakistan

Islamabad court to announce ruling on Shahbaz Gill's physical remand today

An Islamabad district and sessions court on Wednesday approved a two-day physical remand of PTI leader Shahbaz Gill at the request of the capital police.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry announced a verdict that was reserved earlier today.

The development comes less than a week after a district and sessions court rejected a police request to extend Gill’s two-day physical remand and an additional district and sessions judge dismissed a plea requesting a review of the district court’s order.

A plea challenging these orders was filed by Islamabad Advocate General Jahangir Khan Jadoon in the Islamabad High Court on Saturday last week.

The authorities had maintained in the plea that the physical remand of Gill — who is currently in judicial custody on charges of sedition and inciting mutiny in the armed forces following his controversial remarks on ARY News — is important for the completion of the case’s investigation.

The IHC on Tuesday referred a plea seeking Gill’s physical remand to the sessions court for hearing.

Earlier in the day, the district and sessions court in Islamabad took up the plea for Gill’s remand as the prosecution and defence lawyer furnished arguments.

Prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi told the court that the detained party leader was “repeatedly telling lies” and that a polygraph test had to be conducted.

He said the investigators also needed the suspect’s mobile phone records which could potentially lead to more evidence.

“We are yet to investigate the person who allegedly approved the script of the suspect (Gill), which [led him to utter seditious remarks].”

The prosecutor also questioned how a judicial magistrate, who refused Gill’s physical remand, accepted the suspect’s statement as “conclusive”.

He also rejected the claim by the PTI, saying that “a justification of suspension of mobile network signals due to Ashura is also incorrect”.

Abbasi urged the court to allow the physical remand of Gill to process the investigation.

Defending his client, Gill’s lawyer Salman Safdar sought copies of the questions that the PTI leader faced during interrogation.

“The public’s response to determine whether Gill’s remarks were seditious should have been awaited before a case was filed against him,” the lawyer argued.

He criticised the prosecution argument for what he said was an emphasis on Gill’s remarks being made at someone’s behest.

“Some of the things could be wrong but they do not fall under sedition, conspiracy or crime,” Gill’s lawyer contended.

He insisted that a person who had been sent on judicial remand could not be sent back on physical remand again.

Nature of ‘torture’

“Shahbaz Gill said his private parts came under torture,” his lawyer told the court, adding: “I also asked him whether he was being tortured by the police or someone else.”

To which, the lawyer said, Gill told him that he was blindfolded when subjected to the alleged beating.

His counsel also quoted Gill as saying the investigators were asking whether “Imran Khan is an alcoholic”.

Safdar said his client would cooperate with authorities even if he was granted bail.

‘Judicial inquiry’

Meanwhile, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry demanded a judicial inquiry into alleged torture on Shahbaz Gill in police custody.

Speaking to reporters outside the court today, Chaudhry said an independent judicial board must be formed by the IHC to investigate the alleged torture of the party leader. “The board should have the trust of Shahbaz Gill as well as the prosecution,” he added.

He was of the view that the IHC should have formed the panel, however, it transferred the case to the district court.

The former minister claimed that the alleged maltreatment of the firebrand party leader was “part of regime change operation to weaken Pakistan”.

Chaudhry asked the government to “realise the gravity of the situation and think of Pakistan”.

“You can play in politics only if Pakistan is there,” he said while insisting that the country’s interests must be prioritised.

He emphasised that the PTI “will keep a strict vigil” if a decision in Gill’s case turned out to be “wrong”.

“We will take care that he [Gill] is not subjected to cruelty,” the PTI leader added.


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