Islamabad [Pakistan], August 22 (ANI): An Islamabad court on Monday granted police two-day physical remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill who was arrested in a sedition case filed against him.
Gill was presented before the court of judicial magistrate Malik Aman from PIMS under tight security measures. Earlier today, the court had directed authorities to present Gill, who had been shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on Friday, the DAWN reported.
The court had previously concluded that Gill's two-day remand in police custody, which was to end on Friday, began late and as such remained incomplete. However, in light of reports on Gill's health and alleged torture, the court suspended his handing over to the police.
During the hearing today, a report prepared by the Adiala prison officials was presented before the court, confirming torture marks on Gill's body when he was handed over to them by Islamabad police.
The judge asked Gill whether he had gotten himself examined by doctors. The PTI leader replied that he had been on a hunger strike since last night and was not being allowed to meet anyone. He claimed that six to seven people had also tried to "force-feed" him at 3 am. Gill alleged that he was also "tied down and shaved" by 10 to 12 men.
Gill said he was ready to go with the police if he was not tortured. "I should be sent to jail. I am ready to cooperate in the investigation there," he added.
The PTI leader said the judge could only fathom what the police had done with him, adding that the investigation had continued even during his hospital stay. "You will hand me over to them to die. I will not appear before you after that then. I am an asthmatic," Gill told the court.
Besides, Gill's lawyer Faisar Jadoon said that the PTI leader was not being allowed to meet with his legal counsels despite the IHC's earlier orders, the DAWN reported.
"Where is the order of the IHC? I will give my verdict after looking at that," the judge remarked. During the proceedings, he also noted that Gill's health appeared to have "improved". Later the hearing was adjourned till 2 pm.
When the hearing resumed after 1:30 pm, Gill's lawyers Faisal Chaudhry and Babar Awan also arrived in the court. Chaudhry told the court that police were asking for Gill's physical remand just so that they could torture him some more.
Awan said that Gill had been in Islamabad police's custody for 13 days and it was not known where he was kept during that period. "This is the third round of remand that has started," he added.
He further argued that Gill never used any mobile while giving a beeper to a news channel and therefore police's search for the mobile phone was an attempt to drag the case.
"Shahbaz Gill was tortured in these 14 days. His video was leaked. He is a professor, a citizen of the United States [and] his wife is also a professor," Awan asserted.
"This is more than enough. Do they want to kill him in remand?" he asked.
He went on to say that Gill was stripped naked, adding that he did not want to say anything more than that. The PTI's legal team also submitted Gill's medical report to the court, the DAWN reported.
On the other hand, Special public prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbas while giving his arguments for Gill's physical remand said that he would never support torture and added that the suspect was not under two-day physical remand and it will only begin after a court order.
He also read out the order of the additional Session judge Farrukh Ali Khan who directed during a previous hearing that the physical remand remains suspended until Monday today.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad police submitted a report in court today which stated that Gill was not subjected to any kind of torture starting from his arrest till the time he was sent to Adiala jail, the DAWN reported.
"As per the statement of jail authorities and expert reports of the Pims Medical Board conducted on Aug 11, 17, and 18, no signs of torture were found on the body of the accused," the report said.
It also elaborated that the PTI leader had been examined by three medical boards and was also given the opportunity for medical examination twice by the Islamabad administration. "But Gill refused this opportunity for unknown reasons," the report said.
The Islamabad police also said that the allegations of physical, mental and sexual torture of the politician behind bars were not "corroborated by plausible evidence".
"The conduct of Shahbaz Gill on Aug 17 is not above board and he has put up a show to avoid the physical remand. Hence, this allegation of subjecting torture to the accused is baseless and frivolous and an attempt to hamper the police investigations," the report concluded.
The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), recently constituted a four-member medical board to determine Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shahbaz Gill's health condition and recommend whether or not he should be discharged.
This came after the PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary on Saturday called for the formation of an independent panel to investigate Gill's torture allegations.
Senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday claimed that Shahbaz Gill was tortured in a CIA cell.
Gill was arrested by the police on August 9 after he made controversial remarks against the Pakistan army on television that were deemed as "highly hateful and seditious" by the country's media authority, according to Geo News.
The Pakistani publication claimed that the PTI leader had attempted to incite hatred in the Pakistan Army while speaking on ARY News a day prior, which has been restricted in certain parts of the country. Imran's close aide was arrested on charges of colluding with a private TV news channel in carrying out anti-state propaganda.
Notably, Pakistan's regulatory watchdog PEMRA has alleged that the ARY News channel was airing "false, hateful and seditious" content based on "absolute disinformation with a clear and present threat to national security by instigating rebellion within the armed forces."
Meanwhile, the information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb released videos of Gill showing that the PTI leader is "perfectly fine" and no signs of torture can be seen on Imran Khan's chief of staff.
The Information Minister on Saturday castigated PTI chief Imran Khan and party members for spreading "fake propaganda" on media regarding Shahbaz Gill.
Marriyum said that for the last three days "false propaganda" is being spread on social media as "fake" videos of Gill are being spread on all media platforms regarding him being tortured during his imprisonment, reported Geo TV.
The information minister said that an inquiry is being held regarding this matter and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah "will soon present evidence in front of everybody."
However, she hinted that all "dots of the story connect to Khan"; reiterating that the PTI chief wanted to divert attention from the reality "which is against him." (ANI)