The Islamabad High Court has granted permission to lawyers to meet their client, PTI leader Shahbaz Gill, who is currently admitted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), Islamabad. The court has also instructed Islamabad police to submit a report regarding Gill’s alleged torture at the next hearing on Monday.
IHC Acting Chief Justice Aamir Farooq, who heard Gill’s plea against his physical remand, expressed displeasure with the medical official of Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail for not bringing the records sought by the court.
Gill is former prime minister Imran Khan’s chief of staff. He was arrested near Bani Gala on August 9 after he appeared on an ARY talk show. He was accused of making statements against the heads of state institutions, deemed an act of sedition.
On Wednesday, Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry granted the police 48 more hours to question Gill (further physical remand). Yesterday, he was handed over to the Islamabad police by the Adiala Jail administration, albeit after a delay of several hours. As his health had deteriorated, he was sent for a medical check-up.
After meeting Gill, PTI’s Ejaz Chaudhry told the media that Shahbaz Gill’s room was surrounded by the police and he appealed to the chief justice to take notice.
On Thursday, sources with Pims said that Gill’s health was satisfactory. He also underwent a cardiac exam. Some test results are awaited after which doctors will decide whether he needs to be discharged.
However, PTI leaders have contended that Gill was being tortured in custody and being coerced into giving statements against party chief Imran Khan.
Gill’s plea against his physical remand names the additional sessions judge (east), the Islamabad inspector general of police, SSP investigation, SHO Kohsar, City Magistrate Ghulam Mustafa Chandio and the state as respondents.
In today’s hearing, Gill’s lawyers contended that judge who remanded Gill to police did not follow legal “guidelines”.
The hearing was adjourned till 3pm with the court summoning the Islamabad IG, SSP investigation, SHO Kohsar police station, and the Adiala Jail superintendent and medical officer along with the relevant records.
When it resumed at 3pm, Gill’s legal team asked the court to constitute an independent medical panel to assess his health.
It said that Gill was sent on physical remand in order to torture him, and that he was no longer in the right mental and emotional state. The lawyers’ contended that such a situation was a threat to his life.
When asked about whether Gill was tortured, the Islamabad IGP said that the Pims medical report proved that no such thing had taken place.
The Islamabad advocate general inform the court that Gill did not cooperate with the medical board that had gone to the prison for his check up.
Gill’s lawyer Faisal Chaudhry argued that there were images of Gill being tortured in prison, while his lawyers weren’t allowed to meet him while he was under treatment. The judge responded that lawyers aren’t allowed to meet when the accused is on physical remand.
The acting chief justice also told off Gill’s other lawyer Shoaib Shaheen when he expressed lack of faith in the Islamabad IGP. He chastised the Adiala Jail medical official as well for not bringing medical records.
He inquired from the Adiala Jail official about the time they received Gill’s hand-over orders. Upon this, the court was informed that it was received around 4:30pm on Wednesday.
“What were you doing for the next five and a half hours,” Justice Farooq asked. Gill was handed over to the capital police late at night following a stand-off with the Punjab police. During the crisis, it was also reported that PTI wanted Gill to stay in Punjab, where the party is in power.
The additional superintendent of Adiala Jail, which is in Rawalpindi and hence Punjab, told the court that Gill was having trouble breathing. Viral videos of the hand-over showed Gill seemingly in convulsions while lying on a stretcher.
The hearing was adjourned till Monday.
Earlier, Imran Khan shared a video of Gill being transported to Pims, in which he appeared to be having convlusions.
“Descending into a banana republic. The civilised world will be shocked at our levels of barbarism. The worst part is an easy target has been chosen to make an example of through torture and without a fair trial,” the PTI chief said.