Friday, September 16, 2022
The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Friday issued a notice to the federal government in a case pertaining to the physical remand of senior PTI leader Shahbaz Gill in a sedition case and allegation of torture.
The PTI had levelled allegations of torture and sexual abuse meted out to Gill during his physical remand at Adiala jail, Rawalpindi. The party claimed that Gill was tortured and abused during custody, demanding that the matter be probed.
Gill was in police custody since his arrest in the sedition case on August 9 for allegedly inciting mutiny within the military's ranks. However, he was granted bail just yesterday (Thursday) by the Islamabad High Court following his multiple attempts to get released on bail.
At the outset of the hearing of PTI's plea by a three-member bench headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Gill's lawyer Salman Safdar contended that the court trying his client exceeded its authority.
"There is no example of torture meted out to Shahbaz Gill," he said.
Justice Mazahir Akbar Naqvi inquired what the basis was of the case against Gill and what did he say.
Responding to the query, Safdar said that Gill made a speech for which he was charged under 13 sections.
At this, Justice Naqvi corrected him by saying that it wasn't a speech but Gill made remarks during an interview on a private TV channel. He also rebuked the lawyer for being unaware of the procedure and purpose of a physical remand.
The justice inquired if PTI has approached a relevant forum against the alleged torture on Gill.
"You have to approach the relevant forum. What has restrained you from doing that?" the justice asked.
"Shahbaz Gill's remand into police custody was the most controversial remand in the country's history," Safdar maintained, adding that a judge even stated in the order that torture marks were found on Gill's body.
At this, Justice Naqvi asked if the judge would appear before the court as a witness.
"Does the criminal code apply to the Supreme Court?" Justice Naqvi asked. At this, Gill's lawyer responded in the positive.
"Masha'Allah lawyer sahib, the Criminal Code doesn't apply to the apex court," Justice Naqvi said sarcastically.
Later, the court directed the investigation officer to appear in the court with a case record and adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.