Islamabad police arrest wife of Shahbaz Gill's driver on charges of rioting, assault on law enforcers

Published August 11, 2022
<p>This photo shows the wife of Shahbaz Gill’s guard Izhar in Islamabad court on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV</p>

This photo shows the wife of Shahbaz Gill’s guard Izhar in Islamabad court on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

Islamabad police confirmed on Thursday that they had raided a house where PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s driver, Izhar, was staying and arrested his wife along with another individual on charges of rioting, assaulting a police party and theft.

Izhar has also been nominated in the first information report (FIR), a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

The development comes two days after the arrest of Gill on charges of sedition and inciting the public against the state institutions, following his controversial remarks about the army on ARY News. Izhar was with Gill at the time of his arrest at Banigala Chowk in Islamabad and claimed he had been subjected to violence during the episode.

In the FIR registered against Izhar and others, police said Gill — who has been remanded in police custody — revealed during interrogation that he had given his mobile phone, which contained considerable matter regarding the case against him, to his driver/assistant, Izhar, at the time of his arrest. The FIR said he told police that Izhar still had his mobile and was living at his in-laws’ residence.

Following this revelation, a special raiding party was constituted and it went to the house where Izhar was staying at 1:40am on Thursday, the FIR said, adding that when the door was knocked, a man and a woman came outside. “The man identified himself as Izharullah while the woman identified herself as his wife, Mehreen.”

The FIR said both of them began creating a hue and cry after seeing the police party and called five to six more people from inside the house.

“All of them attacked the police party, put up resistance, began creating a hue and cry and threatened the police party. As a result, more people gathered at the scene,” the FIR read.

It alleged that while the suspects were putting up resistance, some of the suspects tore the shirt a constable, Sajjad Shahid. They also tore buttons off his shirt and snatched his mobile phone and wallet, which contained his ATM card, service card and Rs15,000 cash, the FIR said.

It added that Mehreen and another suspect, Noman, were arrested from the scene while the rest managed to flee because of the dark. Subsequently, a case was registered against all the suspects.

The FIR was registered on behalf of Sub-Inspector Talat Mahmood of Kohsar police station under Sections 149 (every member of an unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 147 (punishment for rioting), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 382 (theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint in order to commit the theft), 186 (obstructing public servant in the discharge of public functions) and (use of assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from the discharge of his duty) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

In the FIR, police identified some of the suspects who fled as Hazbullah, Izaharullah, Sardar Imran Khan and Zafar Iqbal.

Earlier, in an audio clip posted on PTI’s Twitter account, a man who identified himself as Gill’s assistant said “a large number of police personnel have raided my house, harassed my wife and family members and taken away our mobile phones”.

He said they had detained his wife without a warrant and appealed for help.

“Police are … torturing me repeatedly, asking me to bring Shahbaz Gill’s belongings. I don’t have anything,” he said.

Izhar’s wife sent to jail on judicial remand

Later in the day, Izhar’s wife and relative Noman were presented before an Islamabad sessions court, where advocate Faisal Chaudhry submitted an application seeking their bail. At the outset of the hearing, the lawyer said the name of Izhar’s wife was Saira, not Mehreen.

He contended that police raided Izhar’s house at 9pm last night without a warrant. “We have video evidence which shows that the policemen beat up my clients,” he said.

“We also have evidence of the condition they left the house in,” Chaudhry said, pleading that Saira be let out on bail. “Except for one, all the sections in the case are bailable.”

During the hearing, Civil Judge Salman Badar asked Izhar’s wife if she had anything to say.

Saira replied that the police broke into her house yesterday. “We found out about their presence when they entered our bedroom,” she said, claiming that more than 20 officers “assaulted us”.

Here, Chaudhry requested the court to grant Izhar’s wife bail today and to view the matter as a “special case”. However, the judge replied that no case was special for him and subsequently approved Nauman’s two-day physical remand, while Saira was sent to jail on judicial remand.

He said that during the time period, police would be allowed to investigate and question the suspects, adding that the hearing on Saira’s bail application will be held tomorrow (August 12).

‘Extremely shameful and cruel’

Soon after the raid, PTI leaders posted condemnations of the raid and arrests on social media.

Farrukh Habib, spokesperson for PTI chief Imran Khan, termed the capital police’s move “extremely shameful and cruel”.

He claimed that Islamabad police had raided the house in Izhar’s absence and had arrested other women too, along with Mehreen.

Hassaan Niazi, a close aide to Imran, claimed that it was police who had attacked Izhar’s family and taken them away.

“Power comes and goes. Only God is there for the poor and He will hold [them] accountable,” he tweeted.

PTI leader Azhar Mashwani said Mehreen had been “detained illegally” and claimed that anyone visiting police station for her release was also being arrested.

He further alleged that the Islamabad inspector general of police was a “corrupt man”.

Later, Imran, too, “strongly” condemned the arrests, describing them as “fascist illegal abductions in shadows of late night”

“I want to ask our legal community are there no fundamental right anymore,” he said, adding: “Imported government of cabal of crooks brought through [a] foreign backed regime change is using fear and terror in [the] media and people to gain acceptance after being routed in Punjab elections.

“But all they are succeeding in doing is further destabilising [the] country. Only solution is fair and free elections.”

Meanwhile, PTI leader Asad Umar, tweeted: “The wife of Shahbaz Gill’s driver has been picked up by the police … They are completely baffled. Where are the champions of human rights and democracy?”

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry the police’s action, saying that women and children were spared even during wars.

But “this fascist government has crossed all limits of cruelty and revenge,” he said.

Ex-human rights minister Shireen Mazari termed the arrested “pure terrorisation of ordinary citizens by [an] imported government which has been rejected by the nation”.

Raid, arrests are legal: police

As condemnations poured in, Islamabad police defended its move and said in a statement on Twitter that the raid and arrests were “legal”.

They said the driver’s family had “resisted” a state action, and that police were “collecting evidence linked with this case” — apparently a reference to sedition case registered against Gill.

“Wherever legal action is needed, police will do their job,” the statement read.

Police said the ambit of the case could be extended to other provinces, outside Islamabad, adding that legal action would be taken against individuals found involved in hiding proof and erasing evidence.

They also appealed to people not to pay heed to fake news, warning of action against those spreading false news and anarchy.

“Islamabad police will ensure that the law is implemented,” they vowed.

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