Sedition case: Gill remanded in police custody for two days

Shakeel Anjum
Thursday, Aug 11, 2022

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Police have constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under SSP (Investigation) to investigate the sedition case against the PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s personal staff officer Shahbaz Gill, says a notification issued from the office of DIG (Operations) on Wednesday.

The other members of the SIT are Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Kohsar, SHO Kohsar Police Station and investigation officer of the case, added the notification.

The police had arrested Shahbaz Gill on Tuesday and obtained his two-day physical remand from a court.

He was produced before Duty Magistrate Umar Bashir. He will be taken to the court of district and sessions judge on 12th August for further proceedings.

Gill has been arrested under 10 charges, including abetting mutiny by an officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the army, navy or air force and attempting to seduce such officer, soldier, sailor or airman from the allegiance of his duty.

The Kohsar Police Station lodged the First Information Report (FIR) on the written complaint of City Magistrate, Islamabad, Ghulam Murtaza Chandio, under sections 131 (abetting mutiny, or attempt to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty), 124-A (sedition), 153 (provoking to cause riot), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 121-B (waging a war against the state), 120 (concealing design to commit offence, intimidation), 505 (statement conducing to public mischief), 506 (punishment for criminal), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

During the brief proceedings, the police requested for a remand of the PTI leader. The court then briefly reserved its verdict before eventually granting a two-day physical remand.

Providing reasons for the remand, the police told the court they still need to recover Gill’s mobile phone and the device he used to make the statements he was arrested for. “We also need to investigate at whose behest the programme was aired,” the police told the judge.

Faisal Chauhdry, Gill’s counsel, told the judge that the programme was not aired on anyone’s directives. The case against Gill has been registered by the Kohsar police station.

Gill’s arrest invited strong criticism from the PTI leadership, with the party chairperson saying Gill was not arrested, but “abducted”.

Gill had attempted to incite hatred within the Pakistan Army while speaking on a private TV channel two days back.

He had been using abusive language against journalists and hurled threats at senior bureaucrats.

The PTI leader had also been involved in personal attacks and making below-the-belt remarks against his political opponents.

Talking to media personnel outside, Chaudhry said the PTI would approach the high court for dismissing the case against Khan’s chief of staff.

The lawyer told journalists that he saw “spots of blood” on Gill’s clothes and that he was tortured in an “organised manner”.

Chaudhry said the PTI leader informed the court of the “danger” he faces in police custody.

“Shahbaz Gill fears that if he is sent into remand, then he might not be able to appear in the court again. The government, without any evidence, got a case registered against him.”

Ahead of being presented before the court, Gill told journalists that he was not “ashamed” of the statement that he made on the private television channel. “There was nothing in my statement that I am ashamed of [....] my statement was of a person who loves his armed forces,” the ex-special assistant to the prime minister said.

The PTI leader said he did not attempt to provoke anyone and that he was only pointing towards bureaucrats who were involved in “wrongdoings”.

Talking to the media on Tuesday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Shahbaz Gill had been arrested in accordance with the law on charges of sedition and inciting the public against the state institutions. The FIR has been registered against him on behalf of the state, he said.

“A fair and transparent investigation will be conducted against Gill,” Sana said, adding that a team had been formed for investigation.

“Their social media was behind it and now people, who have been caught, are spilling the beans,” he said.

“A private news channel was also involved in this conspiracy,” the minister said. The channel was issued a show-cause notice by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) yesterday for airing “hateful and seditious” remarks made by Gill, the interior minister said.

“A pre-planned programme was aired on the news channel on Monday and Gill was taken on call,” Rana Sanaullah said, adding, “He read out the entire narrative from a script.”

He said the sentences that were delivered were such that it was not in the national interest to repeat them. He said the PTI leader went to the extent of seducing the people towards rebellion and inciting mutiny and sedition in the Pakistan Army rank and file.

Responding to a question, Sana alleged that Gill’s comments had proven that the PTI was responsible for running the negative social media campaign on the tragic incident of the army helicopter crash. The matter was grave, the minister, said giving a warning that whoever was found guilty would be arrested, irrespective of their position.