An Islamabad court on Friday rejected the police’s request to extend Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill’s physical remand in a sedition case.
The PTI leader was produced before the judicial magistrate Umar Shabbir earlier today upon the completion of his two-day physical remand, with strict security arrangements in place at the court.
Earlier, a medical exam of Gill was also conducted upon the court’s order, a report of which was submitted today in the court by the police.
As Gill was brought before the judge in a packed courtroom, his lawyer asked on what basis was the advocate general present in the room, adding that the government’s interference in the case is clearly evident. Following this, the court directed all individuals not directly involved with the proceedings to vacate the courtroom
It also permitted Gill to meet his legal team along with former information minister Fawad Chaudhry and other PTI leaders.
During the onset of the hearing, the police requested an extension of Gill’s physical remand.
The investigating officer informed the court that the CD of the audio programme where Gill allegedly made anti-army remarks was obtained and the audio evidence matched.
He added that one of Gill’s mobile phones was left behind in the car, while the other was with him.
Advocate General Islamabad Jahangir Khan Jadoon said that a polygraph test needs to be taken as “a transcript is simply being read and we are unaware of who is behind the whole debacle”.
Jadoon went on to request for an extension of the physical remand, to which Gill’s lawyer Faisal Chaudhry objected, saying there is no need for it and a polygraphic test can be done without it as well.
Subsequently, the court rejected the request for an extension of the physical remand and sent the accused back to jail on judicial remand.
While speaking to the media after the court appearance, Shahbaz Gill claimed that during the investigation, he was asked how many times he had met Lt General Faiz Hameed, alluding to the PTI chairman’s alleged closeness with the former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief.
In October 2021, party Chairman and former premier Imran Khan had allegedly had a rift with the army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, over the transfer of Lt Gen Faiz as the director general of the ISI who, the opposition alleged, was backing the PTI politically. Rumours had it back then that Gen Faiz was Imran’s favourite for Gen Bajwa’s replacement.
However, in June Imran had broken his silence on the theory. “I never planned who I will approve as the next army chief in November . This had never crossed my mind because this was never an issue. What I had in my mind was that when the time comes, I will follow merit and approve the most suitable nominee,” he had said while speaking at a seminar.
Speaking to the court earlier, Gill had also claimed that he had been subjected to torture and no medical examination had been conducted.
He added that he hadn’t been locked up at Kohsar Police Station where the case was registered and was forced to stay awake throughout the night, and was not allowed to meet his lawyers.
He furthered that he cannot even think of making anti-army statements.
“I am not a criminal, but a professor. I was not even kept in Kohsar Police Station,” said Gill.
“During the investigation, I was repeatedly asked what the former prime minister [Imran Khan] has told me to do. I have given no such statements,” he said, adding that what was happening to him is “political revenge”.
Gill request’s IHC to declare Karachi case as illegal
According to Express News, Gill’s lawyers Faisal Chaudhry and Niazullah Niazi filed an application in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) later today to declare the sedition case registered against the PTI leader in Karachi as illegal.
The petition requests the interior secretary, IG Islamabad, IG Sindh, Kohsar Police Station and the SHO of Karachi to declare the FIR registered in the Memongoth police station as illegal.
It stated that separate cases were registered in Karachi and Islamabad on a single case and maintained that registering two cases pertaining to one case is “a violation of court decisions”.
“The purpose of the ‘fake case’ is to target the entire PTI leadership,” the petition added.
Revision appeal inadmissible
The revision appeal filed by the police against the court’s rejection of Shahbaz Gill’s physical remand request was also dismissed.
The verdict was delivered by additional sessions Judge Muhammad Adnan Khan who declared the revision appeal as inadmissible.
However, the judicial magistrate’s earlier order to send the PTI leader to jail was upheld.
Imran condemns Gill’s arrest
Following the court’s order, PTI chief Imran Khan once again condemned the arrest of Gill as he took to Twitter and turned his guns toward the government, saying if Gill broke any law, he should be given a fair hearing.
The ousted prime minister also added that the judiciary needs to take notice of the entire situation as journalists are being picked up without warrants.
He also condemned the arrest of the wife of Gill’s driver, adding that a “climate of fear is being spread to make people kowtow before cabal of crooks.”
‘Gill moved to unknown location’
PTI leader Asad Umar revealed on Friday that Gill was moved to ‘an unknown location’ instead of the Adiala Jail following the court’s order to send him to jail for judicial remand earlier today.
Taking to Twitter, the former minister called out the ‘mockery of law’ being made amidst the sedition case against Gill.
“Hearing that after judicial remand, Shahbaz Gill instead of being sent to adiala is being taken to [an] unknown location. Complete mockery of law. It’s not about Gill. It’s [the] writ of [the] judicial system being challenged,” he wrote.