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Pak court denies police request for 7-day physical remand of PTI leader

It stated that in Gill's case, despite the lapse of 15 days, neither the interim nor the complete report was presented by the prosecution

Law & Order, Court order

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ANI Asia
An Islamabad court on Wednesday rejected a request by the capital police for yet another extension of seven days in the physical remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill, who was arrested in a sedition case filed.
The judgment came as the two-day physical remand of the PTI leader which was approved by the court last Wednesday expired, much later than the scheduled date as the court concluded at previous hearings that the remand began late and as such remained incomplete, the Dawn reported.
At the outset of the hearing, Shahbaz Gill was presented before the court amid tight security after the end of his two-day physical remand. The judgment was issued by Judicial Magistrate Malik Aman, who sent Gill on judicial remand.
During the hearing, the PTI leader's lawyer, Faisal Chaudhry, told the court that he intended to get a power of attorney signed today. The judge, however, remarked that the power of attorney had been signed earlier.
He then asked the lawyer whether Gill had arrived in court. To that, Chaudhry replied in the negative and pointed out that the suspect was yet to reach even when it was past his scheduled time of arrival at 1 pm. He asked the court whether he should start his arguments, the Dawn reported.
The judge, however, pointed out that before the arguments it would have to be seen what was written by the investigating officer in the case file. "The file is not here yet," he said.
Later, police produced Gill before the court and sought another seven days of his custody.
According to the court order, the completion of every investigation without unnecessary delay was the requirement of every law and the police were bound to submit the investigation report in court.
"If the investigation is not completed in the stipulated period of 14 days from the date of recording of the FIR then the officer-in-charge of the police station, within 3 days of the expiration of the such period, forward to magistrate through the prosecutor an interim report stating therein the investigation till that extent."
It stated that in Gill's case, despite the lapse of 15 days, neither the interim nor the complete report was presented by the prosecution.
"Physical remand cannot be granted repeatedly, for the same purpose, without any positive progress," the court ruled, sending Gill to the judicial lock up. The magistrate instructed the police to produce him before the court on September 7, the Dawn reported.
Speaking to the media after the verdict, Gill's lawyer, Faisal Chaudhry, said the PTI leader's legal team was going to immediately file a bail application for his release and that the case against him was based on lies.
He claimed that the remarks attributed to Gill in the first information report were not his comments made on ARY News.
Chaudhry added that he would also challenge in the Supreme Court (SC) the Islamabad High Court's order that rejected Gill's plea against his continued remand.
Chaudhry said the government should also get the custodial torture bill approved, which has been pending with a standing committee for the benefit of the common folk and to prevent violence.
He added that he would ensure that the probe into Gill's alleged torture was completed and called for constituting a commission to investigate the claims.
Gill was arrested by the police on August 9 after he made controversial remarks against the Pakistan army on television that were deemed as "highly hateful and seditious" by the country's media authority.
He was charged under Sections 34 (common intention), 109 (abetment), 120 (concealing design to commit offense punishable with imprisonment), 121 (waging war against state), 124-A (sedition), 131 (abetting mutiny, or attempt to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty), 153 (provoking to cause riot), 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Later, Section 201 of the PPC -- causing disappearance of evidence of an offense or giving false information to screen offender -- was added to the FIR.
A day after his arrest, an Islamabad district and sessions court had granted police a two-day physical remand of the PTI leader.
Two days later, police had sought an extension in the remand but the court had turned down the request and sent Gill on a judicial remand instead.
Police had then filed a review petition against the rejection of their application the same day. However, this appeal was also rejected and subsequently, Islamabad Advocate General Jahangir Khan Jadoon moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for Gill's physical remand, the Dawn reported.
On August 16, the IHC had referred the matter back to the trial court, and later that day, a judicial magistrate had approved Gill's two-day physical remand in police custody.
However, it was only two hours after the court's ruling that Islamabad police were able to take Gill's custody.
When he was eventually handed over to Islamabad police late at night that day, the PTI leader was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences owing to his health complaints.
The development led to a delay in the completion of Gill's physical remand, with the trial court concluding on Friday last week that the remand time began at 7:15 am that day, when the PTI leader was handed over to police by hospital authorities, and not on Wednesday.
At the time, the court had suspended the handing over of Gill to police for the completion of his two-day physical remand and directed Islamabad police to shift him to the Pims for a medical examination on complaints of his ill health.
Authorities have maintained that the ongoing investigation against Gill and collection of evidence cannot be completed without an extension of his remand in police custody, the Dawn reported.
Meanwhile, PTI leaders have alleged that Gill has been subjected to torture and abuse in police custody and contended the demand for Gill's physical remand based on these claims.
The Pakistani publication claimed that the PTI leader had attempted to incite hatred in the Pakistan Army while speaking on ARY News a day prior, which has been restricted in certain parts of the country. Imran's close aide was arrested on charges of colluding with a private TV news channel in carrying out anti-state propaganda.
On the same day, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) had issued a show-cause notice to ARY News for airing comments from Gill and said that channel was airing "false, hateful and seditious" content based on "absolute disinformation with a clear and present threat to national security by instigating rebellion within the armed forces.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 25 2022 | 7:44 AM IST

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