Cannot ignore allegations of torture on Shahbaz Gill: IHC

Justice Aamir Farooq directs interior ministry to conduct inquiry into allegations


Saqib Bashir August 24, 2022
Islamabad High Court. PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

ISLAMABAD:

Acting Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamir Farooq in a 21-page written order said on Wednesday that the allegations of torture against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader "cannot be ignored", directing the Ministry of Interior to conduct an inquiry into them.

The judge further ordered the interior ministry to appoint an inquiry officer under the supervision of a retired high court judge.

The PTI leader had been arrested for sedition and inciting the public against state institutions earlier this month.

Yesterday [Tuesday], while disposing of the plea against the further physical remand of Gill to the police, Justice Farooq had directed that during the physical remand of Gill, an officer of the rank of senior superintendent of police should supervise and ensure that no violence was inflicted on Gill.

In the detailed order today, the court said that the IG Islamabad denies Gill’s claims of torture and that according to Adiala Jail’s medical officer’s record, when the PTI leader arrived he had “multiple injuries and marks” on his body.

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As per the rules pertaining to prisoners, Gill should have had a medical examination immediately, noted the detailed judgment. It also stated that the jail authorities were bound by the law to report the injuries to the sessions judge and the in-charge prosecution.

However, the court said that “the jail authorities failed to report Shahbaz Gill’s torture to the sessions judge or the advocate”.

The court also said that a medical board was constituted on August 13 and 15, but according to the police Gill “refused to undergo medical examination”.

When the board gave a report on Gill’s health, the court observed that “no mention of torture was made”.

“Torturing the accused cannot be permitted under the guise of gathering evidence,” read the written order.

“The Constitution and the courts are the guardians of prisoners' rights and protectors against torture,” it stated.

“Allegations of torture against Shahbaz Gill,” the court said, “cannot be ignored” as it ordered the interior ministry to conduct a further inquiry on the matter and directed the supervising officer to ensure Shahbaz Gill does not suffer torture during his remand.

Case expulsion plea adjourned indefinitely

Meanwhile, the hearing on the PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s plea for the expulsion of the sedition charges against him was adjourned indefinitely.

On August 15, Gill – who is the chief of staff of PTI Chairman Imran Khan – had moved the IHC for the quashment of the sedition case against him, claiming that the police had arrested him just to please the current government.

“This is an expulsion request,” Justice Farooq observed as he directed the lawyers to see a 2012 judgment of the Supreme Court.

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Gill’s counsel Shoaib Shaheen requested a copy of the applicant’s transcript as well as certified copies of the court’s 2012 order.

The prosecution also sought more time to file additional documents.

The judge informed that he will not be available in court for two weeks before adjourning the case indefinitely.

'Illegal weapon possession'

A day earlier, Shahbaz Gill was booked in a another case, pertaining to the possession of illegal weapons.

Two days ago, the Islamabad police had raided Gill's room in Parliament Lodges, where weapons, mobile and satellite phones were recovered.

The PTI leader had claimed that the weapon was licensed and owned by his driver. The police had asked him to produce the licence but Gill could not produce it despite a passage of several hours.

Later, a case for possession of illegal weapons had been registered against Gill at the Secretariat police station.

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