Sunday Aug 21, 2022
Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah on Sunday said that the recent "drama" by the PTI where it has repeatedly alleged that chairman Imran Khan's chief of staff Shahbaz Gill was tortured is nothing but a "lie" with the aim of diverting attention from the party's "anti-state" narrative.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister said: "Shahbaz Gill had everything planned with the private television channel, from when they will call him, to how long the conversation will run."
He was referring to the August 8 conversation on television by Gill where he spoke against the army. The next day he was arrested on sedition charges.
"I can confirm as the interior minister that no torture was carried out against Gill," said Sanaullah.
The interior minister denounced Khan's remarks from the night prior, when he addressed a rally and spoke at length against the police and judiciary, saying that "Imran Niazi's narrative is an anti-state agenda".
Speaking of the divisive social media trends that were launched in the wake of the Lasbela helicopter tragedy in which six army personnel were martyred, Sanaullah alleged that it was an "organised campaign" which had the "support of Imran Khan".
"Imran Niazi's narrative is a foreign agenda," he said.
The minister said that many politicians had "spoken in the past about the interference of the establishment, but no one ever provoked anyone to stop obeying the orders of the command".
"Such a heinous conspiracy will neither be tolerated by the state, nor forgiven," he said.
The federal minister said that he is waiting for Imran Khan to go on a long march upon which "a more effective response than that on May 25 will be given".
Implying a low turnout in yesterday's rally, Sanaullah said: "Imran Khan must have now realised what his real strength is."
He said that Khan threatened the institutions in his speech yesterday, regretting that the former prime minister threatened a female judge after taking her name.
Sanaullah was referring to Khan taking Zeba Chaudhry's name, the additional district and sessions judge who approved the Islamabad Police's request for a 48-hour physical remand of Gill.
The minister said that the statements by Khan, a public office holder, are "impeachable" and are being investigated for whether they constitute filing a new case or that a reference be added to the existing case.
A day earlier, while addressing a public gathering at the F-9 park in Islamabad, Khan had threatened to not spare Islamabad's inspector-general, deputy inspector general, and female magistrate, vowing to file cases against them for "torturing" Shahbaz Gill.
“We will not spare the IG and DIG,” he said, while addressing the gathering, also calling out Judge Zeba Chaudhry and asking her to be prepared for "action" against her.
The PTI chief led a rally in Islamabad from Zero Point to F-9 Park in support of incarcerated Gill, who the party has been repeatedly claiming was tortured in police custody.
He went on to say that if a case can be registered against Gill then Fazlur Rehman, Nawaz Sharif, and Rana Sanaullah will also face judicial proceedings.
“They [coalition government] are trying to scare us by torturing Gill,” he said, adding that this is a “decisive moment” for the people of the country.
Reiterating his stance not to bow down, he said "in the garb of Gill’s arrest they are trying to enslave the people”.
Khan added: "What happened with Gill wasn’t because of what he said. [Coalition government leaders] said things much more damaging to the army".
The former prime minister alleged that Gill was “caught and tortured” to send a message and frighten the people that if he could be broken mentally then anyone could.
“What happened with Gill was a blatant violation of law,” he said, accusing the magistrate of approving Gill's physical remand to the police "despite knowing Gill was being tortured".
Addressing the Supreme Court, Khan said: “With all due respect I want to say that it is the responsibility of the apex court to enforce laws.”
He alleged that whenever police officials were questioned about the current "injustice", they said they were not at fault and got "orders from above".