ISLAMABAD: Following an intense standoff between Islamabad and Rawalpindi police over the custody of Shahbaz Gill, the Adiala Jail authorities handed over the custody of the PTI leader to the former on Wednesday night. The high drama ended after the federal government announced sending Rangers to take custody of Gill.
The Islamabad Police had left the jail with Gill as the Punjab Police personnel went back after hours long drama outside the jail. It was further learnt that Gill was taken to PIMS for a medical check-up and after that he would be shifted to police station, Geo News reported Wednesday.
Gill’s custody had been given to the Islamabad Police according to the directions of the court. Earlier, sources, citing a document titled Emergency Shifting available with Geo News, said that after Gill’s check-up, doctors of the Adiala Jail and the authorities concerned were directed to shift the PTI leader to the DHQ Hospital, Rawalpindi.
Following the directions, Islamabad Police and Rawalpindi Police had reached the Adiala Jail to shift Gill; however, he refused to go with the former. This led to hours long drama between the two law-enforcement agencies.
The Rawalpindi Police were adamant about shifting Gill to DHQ Hospital while Islamabad Police insisted on shifting the PTI leader to the federal capital as per the court orders. Following the argument, additional personnel of Islamabad Police were called to the jail.
According to sources in jail, it was learnt that Gill had complained of difficulty in breathing and ill health due to alleged torture, after which he was shifted to the jail hospital for a check-up. Meanwhile, sources had said that PTI Chairperson Imran Khan had asked Gill to create an emergency-like situation so that he could be shifted to a hospital. Jail officials said that prisoners of Adiala Jail undergo checkups in DHQ Hospital as the medical team from Islamabad could not check prisoners of the Adiala jail.
Meanwhile, after reports of the worsening situation, the Ministry of Interior had also summoned Rangers and FC to execute the court orders. Terming the developments ‘abduction’, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that getting a certificate from the board of their choice was not according to the law. “Pakistan is currently facing the worst fascism; workers should be prepared for all kinds of situations,” he wrote on Twitter.
Fawad Chaudhry also criticised the order and said that “judges sending political workers in remand for torture while knowing everything are criminals”. He said that there was no parallel to the way human rights were being “utterly destroyed” in Pakistan. He said that Gill was being sent in the police custody for “torture” instead of interrogation.
Following the development, the PTI — on its official Twitter handle — shared the video of Gill being shifted to PIMS in an ambulance with an oxygen mask. “Pakistan is undergoing the worst kind of fascism,” it captioned the video.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan Wednesday said he was very concerned about Shahbaz Gill being sent in police custody again and that was part of a conspiracy to target him and his party by forcibly getting false statements from him.
In messages on his Twitter account, he said, “Very concerned about Shahbaz Gill being sent into police remand again. He is in a fragile state of mental and physical health because of the torture inflicted on him when he was abducted and taken to undisclosed location and then again to the police station”.
Imran said: “This is part of conspiracy to target me and PTI by forcibly getting false statements against us, similar to what they have been doing against social media activists. “This is absolutely unacceptable. We will take all legal and political actions to counter not only this torture being inflicted upon Shahbaz Gill but also any such extra-constitutional and extra-legal actions being devised against us,” he wrote.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, meanwhile, accused the PTI chairman of blatantly violating the court orders and putting undue pressure on the bureaucracy of Punjab over Shahbaz Gill’s custody.
Speaking to journalists, she said the PTI chairman had disregarded all laws and the party was using every tactic to protect Gill from the investigation. Rejecting all allegations levelled against the Islamabad Police, a spokesperson for the police said that Gill was not subjected to any kind of violence during physical remand. The spokesperson said Gill underwent regular medical checkups, on the directions of the court and judges, which proves he was not tortured.
Reacting to the allegations levelled by the information minister, PTI leader Farrukh Habib claimed that Marriyum had been tasked to spread propaganda. “She should first comment on her party leaders who are currently summoned by the courts,” he said, adding that it is Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz who have been violating the court orders.
Recalling that both the PMLN leaders were “imposed” on the country the day of their indictment, he questioned: “Was this observance of the law?” He went on to accuse of them violating laws by mentioning that PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif lied to leave the country. “Khan has never encouraged violation of laws,” the PTI leader said, adding that it is their plan to force Gill to give a statement against Khan by torturing him.
Other PTI leadership also reacted strongly to the Islamabad district and sessions court’s approval of a police request for physical remand of Shahbaz Gill for 48 hours in a sedition case, filed against him.
However, PTI Senator Faisal Javed termed Shahbaz Gill’s statement ‘heinous’ mistake, supporting action against him. Expressing his views in the Senate on Wednesday, he said that action must be taken against Gill.
“Whatever legal action is required should be taken against Shahbaz Gill. He should have not given the statement,” he declared. The senator said that Shahbaz Gill’s statement was unacceptable. “The imported government got their cases quashed by amending the NAB law,” he added. He, however, said that the laws “should be equal for everyone”.
“We condemn the treatment meted out to Gill and this House should also condemn it,” Javed said in his speech. Also, in a tweet, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said that the reason behind the insistence on the physical remand of Gill was “more torture” as the police seized his phone at the time of his arrest. “[I] met Shahbaz Gill in Adiala, [his] spirits are high. Despite the worst torture meted out to him in Islamabad, [Gill] refused to make a false statement against Imran Khan,” Umar wrote.
In a press conference, Asad Umar said the party had provided evidence of alleged torture of Gill to the court. “They [coalition government] want to get a statement by inflicting torture on Gill and we want to bring it in the public record,” added Umar. He said Shahbaz Gill was tortured after taking physical remand for the first time and pressured to take a statement which he did not give and now the second bid is to target Imran Khan through him.
He told a media briefing along with former NA Speaker Asad Qaiser and former defence minister Pervaiz Khattak that after the physical remand, judicial remand was granted and he was released from the custody of the Islamabad Police.
He said that earlier there were only narratives, rallies and protests, but the way the whole nation came out in the by-elections and voted in favour of the PTI, these people (rulers) have been shaken. “Now that Imran Khan cannot be confronted politically, the imported government is trying its best to create a narrative to control him and the violence of Shahbaz Gill is also part of that move that in any way Pakistan’s strongest leader, the largest party and Pakistan’s most organised institution should clash with each other,” he contended.
“They will not succeed in their attempt but such an attempt is also like weakening Pakistan. Other than PTI, the rest of the parties are left only at the regional level, but politically only Imran Khan is organising this country and speakers of every language are standing with the PTI today,” he claimed.
Replying to a question, he said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) could not interfere in the election laws, which PTI has also challenged in the court. He believed that the statements that Shahbaz Gill had been accused of were not more dangerous than the statements of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, who clearly made statements against the army, so the law should be equal for everyone. “But we do not want them to be tortured like Shahbaz Gill; however, cases should also be registered against them,” he demanded.
There is a forum of the court to determine what Shahbaz Gill said, he emphasized and said there should be questions asked and there is no need for any secret talks. He also claimed Gill was tortured not in Adiala Jail but during custodial violence in Islamabad.
In a Twitter post, PTI leader Shireen Mazari said: “The regime change conspirators are getting desperate to try and get something against Imran Khan, and now using Shahbaz Gill by torturing him to force false statements.” She said Gill had so far resisted despite “extreme torture”, first when he was “abducted and taken to an unknown location”, and later at a CIA cell.
She stated that remand into the police custody after grant of judicial remand was a “rare” occurrence. “Pakistan’s descent into fascism is happening at a furious pace but we will resist it to the full,” she added.
Pakistan Peoples Party, meanwhile, accused Imran Khan of conspiring to facilitate Shehbaz Gil flee the country. “Shahbaz Gil is a culprit in the eyes of the Islamabad police, and he is being kidnapped with the help of Punjab Police, and Imran Khan is trying to spread chaos and unrest in the country.
“He has used Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi to stand against the court decision,” said Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety and Secretary Information PPP Parliamentarians Shazia Atta Marri.
She said Imran Khan neither believes in the Constitution nor obeys the law of the country. She said the prohibited foreign funding, received by Imran Khan, was now showing its effects and it was proving that Imran Khan’s foreign funding was meant to spread chaos in the country.
Also, SAPM Atta Tarar said Shahbaz Gill was imprisoned in the Adiala Jail, which was under the control of the Punjab government; therefore, the Punjab CM and home minister should be held responsible of torture of Shahbaz Gill.
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