Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Islamabad court approves two-day physical remand of Shahbaz Gill in treason case

Police ordered to produce Gill on Friday; case hearing conducted amid tight security; FIR against PTI leader includes 10 violations of PPC

PTI leader Shahbaz Gill being taken to a court in Islamabad, on August 10, 2022. — Photo by author
PTI leader Shahbaz Gill being taken to a court in Islamabad, on August 10, 2022. — Photo by author

  • Police ordered to produce Shahbaz Gill on Friday.
  • Case hearing conducted amid tight security.
  • FIR against Gill includes 10 violations of PPC.

ISLAMABAD: A court in the federal capital Wednesday morning approved a two-day physical remand of PTI leader Shahbaz Gill in a sedition case.

The case hearing took place amid strict security arrangements, with duty magistrate Umar Shabbir ordering police to present the PTI leader in court on Friday.

During the brief proceedings, police requested a remand of the PTI leader. The court then briefly reserved its verdict before eventually granting a two-day physical remand.

The Islamabad police took Gill, who is PTI Chairman Imran Khan's chief of staff, into custody Monday afternoon from Bani Gala Chowk for inciting the public against state institutions.

Providing reasons for the remand, the police told the court they still need to recover Gill's mobile phone and the device he used to make the statements he was arrested for.

"We also need to investigate at whose behest the programme was aired," the police told the judge.

Faisal Chauhdry, Gill's counsel, told the judge that the programme was not aired on anyone's directives.

The case against Gill has been registered at the Kohsar police station. The first information report (FIR) contains violations of various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Gill's arrest invited strong criticism from the PTI leadership, with the party chairperson saying Gill was not arrested, but "abducted".

Gill had attempted to incite hatred within the Pakistan Army while speaking on a private TV channel two days back.

He had been using abusive language against the journalists and hurled threats at senior bureaucrats. The PTI leader had been involved in personal attacks and making below-the-belt remarks against his political opponents.

What are the charges against Gill?

  • 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention)
  • 109 (punishment of abetment if the act abetted committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment)
  • 120 (concealing design to commit an offence punishable with imprisonment)
  • 121 (waging war against state)
  • 124-A (sedition)
  • 131 (abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty)
  • 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot)
  • 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups)
  • 505 (statement conducing to public mischief)
  • 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation)

PTI leader in 'danger'

Talking to media personnel outside, Chaudhry said that the PTI would approach the high court for dismissing the case against Khan's chief of staff.

The lawyer told journalists that he saw "spots of blood" on Gill's clothes and that he was tortured in an "organised manner". Chaudhry said the PTI leader informed the court of the "danger" he faces in police custody.

"Shahbaz Gill fears that if he is sent into remand, then he might not be able to the court again. The government, without any evidence, got a case registered against him."

Gill says he is 'not ashamed'

Gill, ahead of being presented before the court, told journalists that he was not "ashamed" of the statement that he made on the private television channel.

"There was nothing in my statement that I am ashamed of [....] my statement was of a person who loves his armed forces," the ex-special assistant to the prime minister said.

The PTI leader said he did not attempt to provoke anyone and that he was only pointing towards bureaucrats who were involved in "wrongdoings".

Govt warns of Khan's arrest

Speaking on Geo News' programme "Geo Pakistan", Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Gill's comments were part of a planned conspiracy to create division within the military.

"The conspiracy was hatched during a meeting under Imran Khan's supervision. If we find evidence against him [Khan], we will arrest him as well," he warned.

Amid reports of Khan's arrest, AML chief Sheikh Rasheed wanted the coalition government that attempts to arrest him or break the party would trigger "bloody politics" in the country.

Meanwhile, in a press conference a day earlier, Sanaullah said that the comments were according to the script prepared under the supervision of Khan, which was carried forward by former information minister Fawad Chaudhry and Gill.

“Khan is working on a narrative after realising that he had been trapped in the foreign funding and Toshakhana reference,” the interior minister said, adding that this conspiracy was plotted to divert public attention from their [PTI] wrongdoings.

“The sentences that were said are such that I think it is not in the national interest to repeat them,” he stated, claiming that the PTI leader went to the extent of “leading people towards rebellion” and “inciting mutiny and sedition within the institution”.