ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court on Friday summoned the investigating officer with the case record and issued notice to the state on a petition filed by PTI leader Shahbaz Gill seeking to determine if physical custody was necessary to complete criminal cases.

The order was issued by a three-member bench comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel after it took the petition moved by senior counsel Barrister Salman Safdar on Mr Gill’s behalf.

The petition challenged the Aug 16 Islamabad High Court (IHC) order that referred the matter back to the trial court and later that day, an additional district and sessions judge approved Mr Gill’s two-day physical remand in police custody.

Now the investigating officer has been summoned to explain the reasons for seeking an extension of the physical remand since the counsel alleged that it was meant to extend the custody on some other criminal case on the grounds that Mr Gill’s mobile phone contained a large portion of material and evidence. The next hearing date has not yet been fixed.

Shahbaz Gill, chief of staff of PTI chief Imran Khan, was arrested in Islamabad last month after his controversial remarks aired on a TV channel and were later booked on charges of inciting mutiny in the military.

During Friday’s hearing, Justice Ahsan wondered why the petitioner was before the court when this was purely an academic exercise because Mr Gill had already been released on bail and got the relief he needed.

Barrister Safdar, however, argued that it was the “most controversial remand in the judicial history of Pakistan”, saying the revisional court exceeded its jurisdiction by granting physical custody when no further custody was necessary.

The counsel argued that the high court allowed further physical custody despite the fact that there was strong evidence of custodial torture against Mr Gill.

He also alleged that the lower courts, while granting further remand, did not follow the guidelines formulated in the celebrated 1984 Ghulam Sarwar case, also highlighting that the representatives of the law enforcement agencies had not disclosed the grounds before the lower courts based on which the extension of physical remand was necessary for investigation.

The counsel also read out Mr Gill’s Aug 8 controversial statement broadcast on ARY News, after which he was booked. The counsel questioned that when the statement was recorded through the landline as mobile networks were jammed on account of Ashura, then why further physical remand was necessitated, especially when the mobile phone had already been taken into possession when Mr Gill was arrested.

Citing the jail record, the counsel also stressed that Mr Gill had bruises on his body after the first physical remand ended.

During the hearing, Justice Mandokhel wondered why it was not necessary to grant remand when the accused was in police custody, also stating that custodial torture never became an issue when an ordinary person suffered.

Justice Naqvi observed that the spirit of the law was that the accused was presented before a magistrate after a 14-day remand since they were the custodian of the rights of the prisoners and ascertain whether the accused was maltreated during the police custody.

Justice Ahsan also wondered about the need to grant further remand when Mr Gill never denied the statement based on which cases were registered against him and the entire transcript of the statement was also available.

The court also observed that whatever was recovered from the accused during the investigation had nothing to do with the case.

In the petition, Mr Gill questioned if the federal government’s approval, as defined by the apex court in the 2016 Mustafa Impex case, was mandatory before registering a criminal case on charges of mutiny and sedition and whether the absence of permission by the cabinet would not render the arrest, detention and remand an exercise in nullity, causing grave injustice.

The petition also raised the plea whether the 14-day remand and physical custody were justified in the present case on mutiny and sedition when the allegations primarily revolved around a speech.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
17 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

THERE was a time not too long ago when the faces we see sitting in government today would cry themselves hoarse over...
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
17 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

IT is no secret that visa applications to the UK and Schengen countries come at a high cost. But recent published...
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...