ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Saturday debunked the propaganda of “instigator” Imran Khan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on the custodial torture of Shahbaz Gill, who is facing a trial for inciting mutiny in the rank and file of the armed forces.
“There is a need to inform the nation about a fake viral video wrongly attributed to Shahbaz Gill on social media which portrays that he was brutally tortured in police custody. This is a video of a rapist from Chakwal who sexually assaulted a child and was badly beaten by the locals,” the minister said while addressing a news conference.
During the press conference, Marriyum also played the latest video of Imran Khan’s close aide, Shahbaz Gill, which showed him healthy and fit while conversing with a police official in a hospital room in Islamabad.
“This is the video of Shahbaz Gill which was made just an hour ago,” she said, adding how a person, who was said to be tortured, could look so fit and refreshed during his stay at the hospital.
She said the chief instigator of propaganda regarding Gill’s custodial torture was Imran Khan who wants to divert attention from the real issue involving him and his close aide in incitement of mutiny in the military.
The minister said an “obnoxious” and “botched” attempt was being made to mislead the nation and change the story of Gill’s alleged sedition with his torture and sexual assault.
She said she could not play a morally unacceptable video wrongly attributed to Shahbaz Gill at the news conference as the social and mainstream media were public forums and used by every person, including children.
Marriyum, however, condemned any form of torture on anybody, but categorically rejected any torture on Shahbaz Gill who, she said, was an “excellent actor” and “starts acting when he sees the camera just like his leader Imran Khan.”
She said a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against Shahbaz Gill, who was being investigated in the case as per law. “It was Imran Khan who gave him a script to read on a private news channel for giving a mutiny call in the armed forces,” the minister alleged.
Marriyum said that the PTI leaders had condemned Gill’s statement, but on the contrary its leader Imran Khan unleashed vicious propaganda against the government with full force and announced holding a rally to save his skin in this particular case in a bid to divert the public attention from the matter. “We will not let this happen and the people will be informed about the reality,” she stressed.
She said it was not the first time that Imran Khan had tried to change the story as there were multiple instances when he launched a malicious campaign against the state institutions to divert the public attention from his wrongdoings.
“He (Imran) even did not spare the military martyrs who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Lasbella and slammed them on social media through his trollers,” the minister said. She urged the media and people to abstain from becoming a part of his disinformation campaign and warned that sharing the fake video on social media was tantamount to cybercrime. “It has nothing to do with the freedom of expression as sharing harmful, anti-social, and fake content on social media is not allowed,” Marriyum remarked. Addressing Imran Khan, she said there should be some “shame” and “sensibility.” With this propaganda, the story would not be changed as evidence in Gill’s case had been collected and full details of the inquiry would be shared with the public upon its completion. She regretted that Imran Khan was bent upon damaging the social fabric by promoting lies and disinformation.
“This is not a joke as there is law (to take its course),” she asserted while responding to a media query about Fawad Chaudhry’s suggestion about the formation of a Parliamentary Committee consisting of Shireen Mazari, Saad Rafique and Mustafa Nawaz.
The formation of the said committee, the minister said, is not possible because the PTI MNAs had tendered their resignations from the assembly.
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The reference was filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan in November