Adiala jail authorities on Wednesday handed over the custody of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill to Islamabad Police.
The decision was made after an hours-long dispute between the Islamabad and Rawalpindi police over Gill’s custody outside the jail premises. Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry announced a verdict that was reserved earlier in the day.
“Shahbaz Gill is given in the custody of the investigating officer for the purpose of investigation for 48 hours,” the court order reads.
The judge also directed the investigation officer to get the respondent medically examined and submit a report to the court.
Following court orders, the PTI leader’s custody was given to Islamabad Police. Sources earlier shared that a document titled ‘Emergency Shifting’ stated that after Gill’s check-up, doctors of the Adiala jail and relevant authorities were directed to shift the PTI leader to DHQ Hospital Rawalpindi.
The PTI has alleged that Gill was tortured in police custody previously and remains in danger of being subjected to further torture if he is handed back to the Islamabad Police. Gill was arrested by the Islamabad Police on August 9, soon after he made controversial remarks on television.
After the ruling, PTI Chairman Imran Khan expressed concern over the party leader’s physical remand, saying “this is absolutely unacceptable.” “He is in a fragile state of mental and physical health because of the torture inflicted on him when he was abducted, taken to an undisclosed location and then again at the police station. This is part of a conspiracy,” he wrote in a tweet.
Speaking about Gill being handed over to Islamabad Police, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that getting a certificate from the board of their choice is not according to the laws. He termed the development around Gill’s custody as “abduction”.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said the party would file a petition against Gill’s remand in the high court.
Umar claimed the only reason behind Gill’s further remand was to torture him and pressure him into extracting a statement against the PTI chairman. Earlier in the day, the district and sessions court in Islamabad took up the plea for Gill’s remand as the prosecution and defence lawyer furnished arguments. Prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi told the court that the detained party leader was “repeatedly telling lies” and that a polygraph test had to be conducted. He said the investigators also needed the suspect’s mobile phone records which could potentially lead to more evidence.
“We are yet to investigate the person who allegedly approved the script of the suspect (Gill), which [led him to utter seditious remarks].” The prosecutor also questioned how a judicial magistrate, who refused Gill’s physical remand, accepted the suspect’s statement as “conclusive”.
He also rejected the claim by the PTI, saying that “a justification of suspension of mobile network signals due to Ashura is also incorrect”. Defending his client, Gill’s lawyer Salman Safdar sought copies of the questions that the PTI leader faced during interrogation.
On the other hand, Islamabad Police rubbished allegations of torture on Gill during his physical remand. Police have asserted that the accused has not spoken about being tortured during his appearance in court. Gill’s proper medical check-up was conducted and no signs of torture were found, Islamabad Police shared, adding that his medical reports were thoroughly reviewed by the court and distinguished judges.