Shahbaz Gill says PML-N leaders 'must be behind' car accident

Published May 6, 2022
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill speaks to the media outside the Islamabad High Court. — DawnNewsTV
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill speaks to the media outside the Islamabad High Court. — DawnNewsTV

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill alleged on Friday that PML-N leaders, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah "must be involved" in the car crash — which he claims was an attempt on his life — on the M-2 Motorway in which he was injured a day ago.

"Shehbaz Sharif sahab, along with Rana Sanaullah and other friends, must be involved in this accident," Gill told reporters outside the Islamabad High Court as he described the circumstances of the incident.

Gill, donning a neck brace and an arm sling, added that he had given his lawyers the names of seven people that "want to get me killed" and who should be held responsible in case any harm came to him or former prime minister Imran Khan.

He said they harboured similar intentions for Imran Khan. "As his chief of staff, I fear an attack on him [as well]," he added.

Gill refused to divulge the names to reporters at the moment, however, he said he would be sharing the names with the "few independent voices of the media" in Pakistan.

The PTI leader said the seven people had even threatened him over the phone and he had also provided their phone numbers to his lawyers.

Gill explained that he was not revealing the names as it would give the impression of "political point-scoring". He continued: "And I don't have to name them. Everybody knows. Don't you see Maryam Safdar's statement where she said 'they should be crushed'? Don't you see Rana Sanaullah's statements?

"I will not resort to political point-scoring on this matter and am leaving the rest to you," Gill told reporters.

On Thursday, Gill, along with three other people, had sustained injuries when a speeding vehicle struck his car near the Khanqah Dogran interchange, Sheikhupura.

That same day, state-run APP reported that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered a probe into the incident, directing authorities to "ensure justice".

Recounting the episode today, the PTI leader said the driver of the car that hit his vehicle was twice given room to move past his car but he "deliberately did not overtake".

"When he saw there were cars all around us and we had no way out, he hit us in a manner that nothing happened to his car and our car overturned — on his part, he had left us for dead," Gill said, adding that the events following the accident had played out like a "film's script".

"Today, a man has come forward donning a t-shirt and tracksuit ... He has a particular style of moustache, you will see one kind of Gullu Butt every time," he said, alluding to Shahid Aziz, the infamous baton-wielding man who was caught vandalising property during violence in Lahore's Model Town in 2014. Apparently referring to a suspect involved in the accident, Gill continued, "His face, which I have seen on the media, is similar to that of the [Model Town's] Gullu Butt."

"It's the same story," he said, as he went on to predict that "you will see that his documents will be complete and he will get bail in around a month".

The PTI claimed that this was a "new cycle of getting [people] killed" that was conceived by those who had failed to suppress Imran's voice.

"This conspiratorial and imported government knows that there is only Imran Khan and his few associates who speak up and if they are gone, this matter would be laid to rest," Gill further commented, adding that "the matter, however, will not be laid to rest".

The Pakistani nation, he said, had risen and would not accept the incumbent "imported government".

He said he respected all biradaris, including his, in Punjab, and that Jutts were facing a difficult time.

"But we have been taught to stay loyal and it is my promise to you that ... I will [keep standing with Imran] and will not step back an inch even at the cost of my life," Gill added. "Do whatever you want ... next time you may shoot me."

Gill further claimed that while he was in the US, he saw Imran being praised by people not just of Pakistani descent but also of India and Bangladesh.

In response to a question about the "establishment" being one of the reasons behind the PTI government's ouster, he said it was "incumbent upon us to respect our army", which was "our glory".

He also asked media persons to choose between "those who only speak harshly and those who later slit your throats".

Gill then gave the examples of several journalists, saying that if it was their "turn today" for "speaking up ... tomorrow it will be yours".

FIR registered, suspect arrested

Meanwhile, a first information report (FIR) of the incident was registered at Kaleke Mandi police station in Hafizabad under Sections 324 (attempt to murder), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was registered on behalf of Jabir Ali, who was one of the travellers accompanying Gill when the latter's car met with the accident.

Jabir said in the FIR that Naqi Khan was driving Shahbaz's car, who was sitting on the passenger seat in the front, while he and another person, Izhar, were sitting on the backseat.

"A speeding vehicle hit our car near the Sukheki Interchange with the intention to kill us and fled," Jabir narrated, adding that their car somersaulted and eventually overturned.

He said he and three others in the car sustained severe injuries. "Subsequently, others pulled us out of the vehicle," Jabir said, adding that they were taken to a hospital after first aid.

The complainant claimed that the accident was actually a "conspiracy to kill us, especially Shahbaz Gill".

He called for action against those who planned and executed this "conspiracy". "They should be exposed," he added.

Separately, the National Highway and Motorway Police (NHMP) said that officials and Hafizabad police acted swiftly and arrested a suspect while also seizing his car.

During the interrogation, the suspect told officials that the incident was purely accidental and that there was no intention to target anyone. "Hafizabad police are interrogating the suspect further," the motorway police said.

Earlier, a senior police officer had quoted Gill as saying that a white Toyota Yaris had hit the PTI leader's car from behind and then sped away.

According to Dawn, the officer said the motorway police managed to obtain the record of the suspected car (as per the registration number shared by Gill) from the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department which showed its owner belonged to Bahawalnagar district whereas its colour was blue.

Opinion

Editorial

Election time
Updated 27 Jan, 2023

Election time

There are concerns whether the ECP will be sufficiently able to protect the integrity of elections if they are held under partisan governments.
SCO invite
27 Jan, 2023

SCO invite

THOUGH India’s invitation to Pakistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation events in Goa later this ...
Call to arms
27 Jan, 2023

Call to arms

ONE way the state abdicates responsibility in Pakistan is by farming out its functions to the private sector. In ...
Nuclear miscalculations
26 Jan, 2023

Nuclear miscalculations

IF the claim of former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, that Pakistan and India came close to a nuclear exchange...
Exchange rate cap
26 Jan, 2023

Exchange rate cap

THE ‘management’ of the exchange rate by the State Bank, allegedly at the behest of the government, to ward off...
Fawad’s arrest
Updated 26 Jan, 2023

Fawad’s arrest

Does the state really need to fan public discontent in a period as fraught with uncertainty as this?