ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Friday evening reached Pims to meet his detained chief of staff Shahbaz Gill but the capital police intercepted and denied him permission to enter the ward where he is being kept.
Police officers told Dawn that a PTI leader in a video message posted on social media asked party workers and activists to come over to Pims as Imran Khan was reaching there.
After getting information, a contingent of well-equipped 400 policemen, including Anti-Riot Unit and Counter-Terrorism Squad personnel, were deployed in and around the hospital, including the private ward where Mr Gill has been kept.
In the meantime, PTI workers and activists started arriving at Pims before sunset and shortly around 500 people assembled in and around the hospital.
At around sunset, Imran Khan accompanied by local PTI leaders reached the hospital and moved towards the private ward.
However, the senior superintendent of police (operations) along with a contingent of police deployed in front of the building intercepted him.
The police disallowed the PTI chief from visiting Mr Gill saying as he was in the custody of court through the police, the officers said.
Besides, permission of court was necessary to meet Mr Gill, he was told. Mr Khan remained there for half an hour and later left, they added.
During his presence, the police warned the PTI activists to remain peaceful to avoid the use of force against them. Fortunately, no misshape took place, the officers added.
Mr Gill is admitted to a room on the third floor of the private ward.
Two policemen were also deployed with him inside the room while a team of 22 personnel are on duty on the corridor of the floor, lift and the entry points of the ward.
The contingent of a total of 400 personnel was to be called back from the hospital by Friday night after an evaluation of the situation, the officers added.
The capital police on Thursday night issued an advertisement on behalf of the DIG headquarters stating that any person having evidence related to the case registered against Mr Gill or about alleged torture on the accused could record his testimony at the office of the IGP at Police Lines Headquarters on Aug 20 (today) from 8am to 12pm.
However, some officers were of the view that Mr Gill had been detained at an undisclosed location and how anyone from the public could know if he was subjected to torture or not.
A police spokesman said the medical board in its report issued earlier had confirmed that there was no sign of torture on Mr Gill’s body. However, the advertisement was issued under the directives of court.
In this regard, a meeting was held on Thursday and attended by investigators and all the officers concerns.
A team was constituted under the supervision of the DIG headquarters which will record the statements of the investigators and the staff of the police installation where Mr Gill was detained during his first physical remand, he added.
Citizens desirous of appearing before the team during the given time can do so and produce any evidence that would be recorded, he added.
Meanwhile, a notification issued on July 23 imposing a ban on gathering of five or more people in the capital was again shared on the official twitter account of the deputy commissioner (DC) Islamabad on Friday night.
It stated that there was already a ban on all types of gatherings, rallies and processions in the capital along with gathering of five or more people.
Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2022