Home Latest News PTI Announces Nationwide Protests for the Release of Shahbaz Gill

PTI Announces Nationwide Protests for the Release of Shahbaz Gill

Party chief Imran Khan alleges his chief of staff has been subjected to ‘sexual abuse,’ implies torture was not perpetrated by police

by Staff Report

File photo of PTI Chairman Imran Khan

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday announced nationwide demonstrations for Saturday (today) evening to protest the ongoing detention and alleged torture of his chief of staff, Shahbaz Gill, who is currently facing a probe for sedition.

Earlier, a district and sessions court in Islamabad ordered Gill to remain at the federal capital’s Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for further treatment for his asthma and respiratory issues. Rejecting a police plea to extend his physical remand to eight days, it said the accused’s health did not appear to be “fine” and he should remain hospitalized for an additional 48 hours. However, the court also ruled that Gill’s remand of two days that had been ordered earlier this week had not yet started, as he had been hospitalized throughout it.

A few videos of Gill being taken to court on Friday in a wheelchair went viral on social media. In them, he appears to be crying and calling for an oxygen mask.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Khan alleged that pictures and videos “clearly” showed that Gill had been tortured “both mentally and physically, including sexual abuse” while in police custody. “He was humiliated to break him down,” he wrote. “I now have full detailed information. Islamabad Police says it did not inflict any torture. So my question is: who tortured Gill?” he said, implying it was not the police that had “tortured” the accused.

“There is a general perception in the public at large and in our minds too as to who could have carried out the gruesome torture,” he continued. “Remember the public will react. We will leave no stone unturned to find out those responsible and bring them to justice,” he added.

The ousted prime minister also announced he would personally lead a rally after evening prayers from Zero Point in Islamabad to F9 Park “in support of Gill and in protest against the torture inflicted on him.” The demonstration would also protest the “muzzling of ARY News simply because ARY didn’t toe the official line and gave coverage to our narrative,” he added. PTI leader Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, in a subsequent video statement, said the party would protest against Gill’s detention in all regional headquarters. He said Khan’s speech to his party workers at F9 Park would be broadcast at all regional headquarters through video link. He also claimed the PTI had provided pictures and doctors’ certificates “proving” their allegations to the authorities concerned.

The Islamabad administration, in a statement, have said that the PTI cannot hold a rally in the federal capital, as Section 144—barring gatherings of larger than 5 people—remains in force. However, Fawad said the PTI would not adhere to the law and the rally would proceed as planned.

Khan and the senior leadership of the PTI also tried to meet Gill in hospital on Friday evening, but were denied by police who said they needed permission to meet the detained accused. Reacting to the PTI’s displeasure, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said Khan should secure a court order if he wishes to meet Gill in custody. “He is not a monarch to go anywhere he wants,” she added.

Faking it

Speaking with private broadcaster Geo News on Friday evening, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan rejected the PTI’s allegations of abuse, claiming Gill was “faking” his illness to delay the police investigation into his alleged sedition. “No abuse of any kind occurred. Shahbaz Gill is just faking it. He was not tortured,” he claimed, adding that Khan was “lying” by alleging Gill had been sexually abused.

Urging the PTI leader to file a legal petition against the people he believed were responsible for any such crime, he warned that the party would face legal action if it attempted to enter the Red Zone or the PIMS Hospital.

Separately, the Islamabad police have launched an inquiry to investigate the PTI’s torture allegations and have sought statements from doctors who treated Gill to determine the extent of his health concerns.

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