ISLAMABAD: PTI leader Dr Shahbaz Gill on Friday told a court in the capital that investigators had focused their interrogation on the frequency of his meetings with Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, and “compelled him to testify against party chairman Imran Khan” in connection with his controversial statement about the army.
Judicial Magistrate Omar Shabbir, after hearing arguments from both sides, rejected Kohsar police’s plea to extend Mr Gill’s physical remand for further investigation, and sent him to the judicial lock-up of Adiala Jail.
In a related development, Judicial Magistrate Salman Badar granted post-arrest bail to the spouse of Mr Gill’s driver.
Unlike previous hearings, PTI workers and some leaders, including Fawad Chaudhry, Ali Nawaz Awan and Kanwal Shauzab, were on the court premises to cheer up the party chairman’s chief of staff.
Court rejects police plea for physical remand; driver’s spouse gets bail
Advocate General for Islamabad Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon had argued that Mr Gill’s physical custody was required for recovery of mobile phones, voice matching and conducting polygraph test to ascertain whether the suspect is telling the truth or otherwise. Defence counsel Faisal Hussain and Advocate Ali Bukhari objected to advocate general’s presence, saying this shows the government was keen to keep their client behind bars.
Mr Gill told the court that he had been subjected to torture and accused the police of asking “irrelevant” questions. He said investigators were even interested in Imran Khan’s diet plan.
As regards his objectionable remarks, Mr Gill said his statement had been taken out of context, adding that he “respects army and never intended to ridicule” the institution.
The prosecutor said police had planned to conduct Mr Gill’s polygraph test at the Punjab Forensic Science Laboratory which would require four to five days.
He said some other suspects were to be arrested and for this purpose police needed Mr Gill’s custody for 12 days.
Later, the prosecution filed an appeal before Additional District and Sessions Judge Mohammad Adnan against the rejection of plea seeking extension of Mr Gill’s physical remand.
However, after hearing the arguments, the ADSJ dismissed the plea.
Separately, Judicial Magistrate Salman Badar granted post-arrest bail to the wife of Mr Gill’s driver. The court accepted the bail plea against surety bonds worth Rs30,000.
Moreover, PTI’s legal team filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court, seeking to quash the FIR registered against Mr Gill as well as the administration of private television channel ARY News in connection with airing of his statement.
The petition referred to the judgements of superior courts that ruled as illegal the registration of more than one FIR in a single incident and requested the high court to quash the FIR registered with the Memon Goth Police Station, Karachi.
Meanwhile, the PTI chairman condemned the alleged torture of Mr Gill and the arrest of the head of ARY News, asking the judiciary to take notice of “violations of all laws with impunity” by the present regime. “Strongly condemn the torture being inflicted on Shahbaz Gill. Under what law & under who’s orders is this being done? If he [Gill] broke any law then he should be given a fair hearing. But just to salvage Imported government of crooks the Constitution & all laws are being violated with impunity,” he tweeted.
PTI’s senior vice president Dr Shireen Mazari in a statement urged the UN Human Rights Council to take notice of this “inhuman act”.
Another senior PTI leader, Asad Umar, tweeted: “Hearing that after judicial remand, Shahbaz Gill instead of being sent to Adiala is being taken to unknown location. Complete mockery of law. It’s not about Gill. It’s writ of judicial system being challenged,” he said.
Kashif Abbasi in Islamabad also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022