IHC seeks police report on Gill torture claims

Directs jail officials to explain delay in order implementation


Our Correspondent August 18, 2022
PTI leader Shahbaz Gill is being taken to hospital on stretcher. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) sought on Thursday a report from the inspector general of Islamabad police regarding allegations of torture during the remand on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shehbaz Gill.

The court issued a notice to the additional superintendent and medical officer of the Adiala Jail and sought explanation from them for not immediately implementing order of Islamabad sessions judge. The court also allowed Gill’s lawyers to meet him under the remand rules.

During the hearing, Gill’s lawyer requested the court to suspend the decision of the additional sessions judge of Islamabad who granted further physical remand. The court remarked that Gill was in police custody but he was not under investigation because of hospitalisation.

In its written order after the hearing, Acting IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq termed the explanation of the Adiala jail authorities in delay in Gill’s handover to the Islamabad police unsatisfactory. The order said that jail officials told the court that Gill’s ill-health caused the delay.

The medical officer told the court that Gill had asthma since childhood. The explanation given by the jail authorities was not satisfactory, therefore, the jail officials would submit written explanation by Monday, according to the court order. The plea against remand would also be heard on merit on Monday.

According to the court order, IG Islamabad, SSP Investigation, Additional Superintendent Adiala Jail and jail medical officer appeared in the court. Responding to court query, IG Islamabad said that there was “absolutely no torture” on Gill, adding that there was no mention of torture in the medical report.

The court remarked that those who were levelling allegations of torture were defaming the Islamabad police, adding that it should come to the fore whether torture happened or not. PTI lawyer Faisal Chaudhry said that Gill was lying unconscious in the PIMS Hospital.

Read Punjab govt refutes Imran’s claim on Gill custodial torture

Special Public Prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi told the court in response to a query that Gill was presented before a magistrate after the completion of his physical remand and he did not complain about torture.

The court asked the Adiala Jail medical officer about the preliminary medical examination report of Gill. However, the medical officer showed his inability to submit the report, saying that he had not brought it. The court expressed displeasure over not bringing the report.

Jail authorities informed the court that ‘Robkar’ – a legal instrument for the handover of the accused, reached the jail at 4pm and Gill was handed over to the Islamabad police at 9pm. The medical officer said that Gill complained of heart trouble at 4pm.

The court allowed four lawyers to meet Gill and said that there were other patients in the hospital. The judge also told the lawyers that if there were hospital rules for any visiting hours, those must be followed.

Meanwhile, the investigating officer in the case submitted Gill’s medical report in the court of Islamabad Judicial Magistrate Raja Farrukh Ali Khan, which said that a medical board had recommended further monitoring and examination of the accused.

According to the report, a team of four senior doctors conducted a medical examination of Gill. It added that Gill had breathing problems since childhood and used bronchodilators as needed. He was also experiencing pain in the body—in the left side of shoulder, neck and chest.

The report further said that ECG was done immediately, while Gill needed X-ray, blood and heart tests. The report also said that Gill needed medical examination by cardiologist and pulmonologist.

Separately, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar backed PTI’s claims of torture on Gill in police custody, saying in a tweet that he had seen “very disturbing pictures of physical torture on Shahbaz Gill”.

“No matter how much you disagree with or dislike him, a man’s dignity should not have been violated like this,” Khokhar tweeted. “Either the govt of [Prime Minister] Mian Shahbaz is complicit or spineless to prevent such atrocity! Shame on us,” he added.

Khokhar also blamed the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of the political parties that are part of the coalition government, saying “serving democracy by torturing political opponents. What a farce!”

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