The Lahore High Court (LHC) has granted protective bail to PTI leader Shehbaz Gill until January 24 after the federal special public prosecutor confirmed the registration of a new first information report (FIR) against him without sharing its details.
During the hearing of the bail application presided over by LHC Judge Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh on Thursday, the Islamabad police and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) denied registering a fresh case against the PTI leader.
It is worth mentioning that federal government had challenged a post-arrest bail granted to Gill by the Islamabad High Court in the sedition case.
Meanwhile, federal special public prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi filed an application withdrawing the aforesaid appeal contending that the accused had repeated the offence and consequently a new FIR had been registered against him.
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Subsequently, the PTI leader had approached the LHC for protective bail.
As the proceedings commenced today, the petitioner’s counsel Rana Abdul Shakoor Khan told the court that Gill is suffering from serious disease asthma and has been admitted to a private hospital in Lahore.
The counsel said Gill was arrested on August 9, 2022 under charges of sedition, inciting mutiny within the military’s ranks, and inciting the public against the state institutions.
Subsequently, he was granted post arrest bail. The respondent had challenged his bail order in the Supreme Court, the counsel added.
After it emerged that a fresh case had been registered against Gill, the PTI leader’s counsel said his client tried his best to trace the fresh FIR but to no avail.
The PTI leader through his counsel has expressed concerns that that he will be apprehended “under the garb of a false FIR”.
Advocate Khan argued that the respondents, the Federation and Punjab administration, are not discharging their duties, adding that they are bound to provide the details of the FIR. “But concealing an FIR shows malafide intention of the federation,” he claimed.
The counsels Rana Abdul Shakoor Khan and Muhammad Ramza Chaudhry told the court that neither had they been provided the details of FIR nor its copy, which they claimed was "a illegal act”.
They requested the court to restrain the quarters concerned from arresting the petitioner.
Justice Tariq Saleem sought particulars of the FIR from Punjab’s deputy attorney general and additional advocate general, but they failed to provide any information.
The proceedings were adjourned for a short while with the court directing the deputy attorney general to get information about the FIR from relelvant authorities. The LHC judge also directed Shehbaz Gill to appear in person before the court.
Also read: PTI's Shahbaz Gill brought to court in ambulance
As the proceedings resumed, Gill appeared before the court in a wheel-chair. The deputy attorney general AD Naseem informed the court that he had contacted Director General FIA Islamabad Mohsin Hussain Butt and SSP Operations Islamabad who told him that no new case has been registered against the petitioner.
After that, he said he had contacted special prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi who confirmed the FIR but he did not disclose the particulars.
However, Justice Sheikh observed that under Article 4 of the Constitution every citizen has an inalienable right to enjoy the protection of the law and to be treated in accordance with law.
"Therefore, the petitioner is granted protective bail till January 24 with direction to furnish personal bonds of Rs50,000 to the satisfaction of the Deputy Registrar (Judicial) of this court,” the court ordered.