There is no second opinion that Shahbaz Gill breached the delicacies of freedom of expression. He should face the law. But his case is turning out to be an example of political rivalries. The reports of torture that he has had to endure at the hands of the police for voicing his opinion cannot be condoned. According to the report of doctors at PIMS, Gill is suffering greatly as he has been a patient of asthma since childhood and due to the environment he has been kept in since his arrest earlier this month, his illness has been triggered. Moreover, according to some of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI’s) members, the chief of staff of Imran Khan went through physical, mental and even sexual abuse at the hands of those who arrested him. These reports have been denied by the Islamabad Police but many are claiming this to be true. The claim may be contested but by looking at his condition it can be deduced that the man has gone through some form of torture.
Shahbaz Gill was arrested on the charges of creating mutiny within the ranks of the army. Since the change of government, Gill was one of the few spokesmen of PTI who openly criticized the government but his comments about the military’s involvement in this procedure are non-sense. He was arrested near Bani Gala and has been kept in custody since the beginning of this month. Reports of Gill’s worsening condition surfaced recently and so did pictures of him. When the man could not handle any more torture and his body began to give up, he was taken to the hospital where it was confirmed that he is indeed not acting and his suffering is real. He has been given treatment and the doctors at PIMS have advised to keep him under close observation as the man’s health is declining at an accelerated speed.
The fiasco should be handled before it becomes a dark mark on this government’s performance. To add a cherry on top, members of PML-N are justifying the torture by giving examples of how the previous government treated former premier Nawaz Sharif and his close aides. Such arguments are only decreasing the ruling party’s popularity as it shows them as inhumane and pro-vengeance. Gill’s arrest has created an unwanted and unnecessary mess that could have been easily avoided. If the case made against him is strong and arresting him was absolutely necessary then the least the state functionaries could have done was to not violate his dignity. What should have been done instead of this torture was to make a strong case against him and proceed towards interrogation and investigation. These actions will further dampen the positive image of Pakistan and the current government as PTI will involve international agencies such as the UNHRC. The government must take a pragmatic approach and tread carefully because the public sees all actions and it is not blind, deaf or dumb anymore.