ISLAMABAD: A district and sessions court in Islamabad on Wednesday granted police physical remand of PTI leader Shahbaz Gill for 48 hours in a sedition case filed against him.
Earlier today, the district and sessions court reserved the verdict on a review petition filed by the police against the dismissal of its earlier application seeking an extension in the physical remand of Gill.
Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Zeba Chaudhry announced the verdict in the case at 3pm today.
A day earlier, the IHC ordered the sessions judge to hear the review petition.
Islamabad Advocate General Jahangir Jadoon, on August 13, had moved the IHC seeking its order to declare the decision taken by the district and sessions court null and void while extending the physical remand of Shahbaz Gill, a close aide of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
In compliance with the orders of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the district and sessions court took up the review petition filed by the police.
At the outset of today’s hearing, Gill's counsels Salman Safdar and Faisal Chaudhry appeared before the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Zeba Chaudhry.
During the course of proceedings, Special Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi apprised the court that the judicial magistrate remanded Gill into police custody for two days but the investigation officer requested for an extension in the remand.
He said that the duty magistrate should have considered all aspects of the matter but he rejected the request.
"How did he [magistrate] consider Gill's statement to be final?" he asked.
Abbasi maintained that a remand of at least 10 days is granted in ordinary cases while this is a case of criminal conspiracy.
He contended that the suspect is "lying repeatedly", therefore further interrogation and a polygraphic test is required.
The special prosecutor further stated that Gill has already confessed that his driver has one of his mobile phones.
"The IO clearly wrote in the plea that it's not just about the recovery [of the phone] but there are other aspects that need to be investigated," he said.
Meanwhile, Salman Safdar, counsel of Shahbaz Gill, said that it is necessary to determine why the police want the physical remand of his client in the case.
“The case registered against my client is based on malice,” argued Salman Safdar.
The lawyer said that the counsels were not provided a record of the case.
“It can be seen in the video that Gill put his mobile phone in his pocket when the police arrested him,” his counsel argued, asking why when the mobile phone is in police’s custody are they asking for it.
He further said the complainant is a magistrate who filed the case "on behalf of the bureaucracy and the Pakistan Army".
Gill’s counsel was of the view that a sedition case cannot be filed without the permission of the federal government and pleaded with the court to inquire from the prosecution if the federal cabinet gave its nod for the case against his client.
Meanwhile, he drew the court’s attention towards the absence of the complainant in the courtroom. Subsequently, the judge suspended the hearing for a break.
Gill's counsel accused the police of torturing his client and using immoral and inappropriate language during the investigation.
“The case is based on political revenge,” the lawyer argued.
The police have asked for an extension in physical demand to further torture Gill, he alleged.
Shortly before the verdict was announced PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry announced that his party workers will "stand guard" if the court hands over Gill to the police on physical remand.
Accusing the police of subjecting Gill to severe torture, Fawad hoped that the court will not grant the police physical remand of the PTI leader.
He also demanded a judicial inquiry into the alleged torture of Gill in police custody.
“PTI leaders were barred from meeting Shahbaz Gill in Adiala Jail,” said Fawad.
Referring to the recent negative propaganda against the Lasbela helicopter crash on social media, Fawad said that linking the social media campaign to PTI is wrong.
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