ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday granted confirmed bail to PTI leader Shahbaz Gill in a sedition case, lodged against him last month for allegedly inciting mutiny within the military's ranks.
Gill was taken into custody from the Banigala Chowk by the Islamabad police on charges of sedition and inciting the public against the state institutions on August 9.
On September 2, the PTI leader moved the IHC seeking his interim bail in the case as the local court in the federal capital had rejected his bail plea and observed that "despite being a responsible person, Gill made a sensational statement" that was enough to disturb the harmony and discipline of the Pakistan Army.
During the course of today's proceedings, Gill’s counsel argued that the case against his client is "based on malice" and it was filed for "political revenge".
“The whole case revolves around a speech. The investigation in the case has been completed,” the lawyer added.
At this, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked the lawyer if he can justify his client's statement that drags the armed forces into politics.
“Gill did not ridicule the armed forces,” his lawyer argued, adding that certain parts of his client’s speech were "selected maliciously".
“The conversation shows us the extent to which political parties are spreading hate,” observed the chief justice.
Lauding the armed forces, Justice Minallah noted that our forces are "not weak enough to be influenced by someone's irresponsible statement".
“Gill’s irresponsible statement cannot be justified in any way,” remarked the judge.
Justice Minallah asked: “Was permission taken from the government before lodging the sedition case against the PTI leader?”
At this, Advocate Salman Safdar said that permission was not taken but Special Prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi was of the view that the government had given its nod to the case.
“Neither did Gill target the armed forces nor are they a plaintiff in the case,” argued Gill’s counsel.
“Gill’s remarks were irresponsible, inappropriate and defamatory,” the chief justice noted.
Justice Minallah also observed that the chief commissioner and the interior minister were not authorised to lodge a sedition case against anybody.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the IHC granted the PTI leader confirmed bail against surety bonds of Rs500,000.