August 18, 2022
By Rehan Piracha
LAHORE: The Islamabad High Court has directed the inspector general of police to submit a report on alleged torture of Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill on August 22.
The court directive during hearing of the PTI’s petition against Shahbaz Gill’s physical remand. Acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq summoned the Islamabad advocate general, additional attorney general and top police officials in the case.
Gill’s counsels Faisal Chaudhry and Shoaib Shaheen had pleaded that their client could be subjected to torture during the remand period. The additional sessions judge (east), the Islamabad inspector general of police, SSP investigation, SHO Kohsar, City Magistrate Ghulam Mustafa Chandio, and the state were made respondents in the petition.
Gill’s counsel Shoaib Shaheen told the court that the additional sessions judge did not follow the guidelines provided within the law while remanding custody of Gill to police. The counsels also said they were not being allowed to meet Gill. The court adjourned proceedings till 3pm to allow the appearance of summoned officials.
We want to determine whether Gill was tortured or not: IHC
The acting CJ observed that widespread reports of the PTI leader’s torture were hurting the police’s reputation. “We want to determine whether Shahbaz Gill was tortured or not,” Justice Aamer Farooq observed.
Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi told the court that the PTI leader was not tortured, adding that Gill was taken into custody on August 9 and his medical check-up was conducted two days later on Aug 11. The court inquired whether Gill made any statement about his torture before the court. In response, Gill’s counsel Faisal Chaudhry said he was denied access to his client at the PIMS hospital. However, the judge said meeting was not allowed during a remand period.
The court also expressed annoyance at Adiala Jail’s medical officer for lacking records of the health of the detained leader.
The IHC issued a notice to the Additional Superintendent and Medical Officer of Adiala Jail for not immediately implementing the order of the Sessions Judge and sought an explanation while allowing Shahbaz Gill’s lawyers to meet under the remand rules. The IHC also directed the Islamabad IGP to submit a report on alleged torture on Shahbaz Gill on the next date of hearing on August 22.
Shahbaz Gill undergoes medical tests
Meanwhile, Shahbaz Gill underwent medical tests at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences where he was brought on Wednesday night after developing breathing problems following a standoff between Islamabad police and Adiala Jail authorities who tried to shift him to a hospital in Rawalpindi.
According to a report of the PIMS medical board that examined Gill on August 17 upon his arrival there, the PTI leader was suffering from asthma and breathing difficulties as well as body pains. The board recommended that Gill should go further medical tests as well as taken for consultation with cardiologist and pulmonologist for further treatment.
A heavy police contingent was deployed at PIMS who were seen surrounding the bed of the PTI leader as he was taken to the cardiology ward. A group of PTI leaders tried to meet Shahbaz Gill in the hospital but claimed that police had barred from meeting them.
Speaking at a press conference, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary claimed that Gill faced an enormous amount of torture in police custody, adding that if the torture was not stopped this instant every Pakistani would become vulnerable to such custodial torture. PTI chief Imran Khan also shared a video of Shahbaz Gill at PIMS, saying that the country was becoming a banana republic.