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Allegations of Shahbaz Gill’s torture cannot be ignored, IHC rules

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  • “Constitution and courts are guardians of prisoners’ rights,” says IHC.
  • Orders interior ministry to conduct inquiry on allegations of torture on Gill.
  • Says “SSP rank official should ensure that no violence is inflicted on Gill during physical remand”.

The allegations of torture on senior PTI leader Shahbaz Gill “cannot be ignored”, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled on Wednesday, in the verdict issued on his plea against extension in his physical remand.

“The Constitution and the courts are the guardians of prisoners’ rights and protectors against torture,” the IHC stated in a 21-page verdict.

The verdict also states: “Torture of an accused person cannot be allowed under the guise of gathering evidence.”

The verdict, authored by IHC acting chief justice, Justice Aamir Farooq, directed the Ministry of Interior to conduct an inquiry on the allegations and task a retired high court judge to appoint an inquiry officer.

The IHC disposed of the plea against the extension in Gill’s physical remand to the police, directing that an officer of the rank of senior superintendent of police should supervise and ensure that no violence is inflicted on Gill during physical remand.

The verdict stated that the IG Police denied allegations of any torture inflicted on Gill but when he arrived at Adiala Jail on August 12, the medical officer noted in the register that he had several wounds and marks on his body.

As per the Rule 20 of the Prison Code Rules, a prisoner with injuries on his body should be examined immediately by the medical officer when he is admitted into prison from police custody.

“If the examination reveals unexplained injuries not already recorded in the medico legal report accompanying the prisoner, a report shall at once be made to the Sessions Judge and officer Incharge of the prosecution and Superintendent police,” the rules state.

The judgment said that no action was taken in this regard as neither the sessions judge or superintendent of police or office of advocate general, were informed about Gill’s condition.

Later, when a medical board was formed for the medical examination of Gill, on August 13 and 15, the prosecution said that Gill refused to have himself examined.

Moreover, a report on the medical examination performed on August 17 clearly stated that Gill needs monitoring and assessment but nothing about physical torture.

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36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s JUI-F resignation from the Senate

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Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the JUI-F leader’s resignation, which he accepted.

In the National Assembly, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri will be sworn in as a member.

Following their victories in the general elections on February 8 for the Balochistan Assembly, Senators Sarfraz Bugti and Prince Umar Ahmedzai had already announced their resignations from the Senate.

Prior carer Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the resignation of Federal Interior Minister Bugti, which he accepted.

In a similar vein, Senator Prince Umar Ahmedzai of the Balochistan Awami Party resigned from the Senate following his election to the provincial legislature.

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NA session: The interim government addresses President Alvi’s concerns

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Details indicate that in response, the federal government informed Dr. Arif Alvi that Article 91 of the 1973 Constitution does not grant the president the “discretion or power” to adjourn the National Assembly session.

The sources quoted the federal administration and said, “Nowhere in Article 91 is it written that if the House is incomplete, the National Assembly session cannot be convened.”

It further said that Article 54 of the constitution allowed the president to adjourn the National Assembly’s “ordinary” session alone. According to the summary, the president was requested to call an extraordinary session of the National Assembly so that the newly elected members may take an oath of office.

Dr. Arif Alvi was asked to reconsider his choice and call a meeting of the National Assembly by the acting federal government on February 29.

The sources quoted the federal government and stated, “It is not written anywhere in the constitution that if specific seats are not allotted, the session cannot be called.”

It further said that the National Assembly must be called within 21 days following the election in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution.

The caretaker administration responded, saying, “Even if the President does not call the National Assembly session by February 29, it would still be held on the same day.”

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called a session of the National Assembly on Thursday, February 29th, in order to administer the oath to the newly elected Members of Congress earlier on Monday.

According to specifics, President Arif Alvi declined to call a meeting under clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution, arguing that the lower body is still unfinished because a decision on certain reserved seats has not yet been made. Consequently, the Speaker National Assembly called the meeting.

The National Assembly’s maiden session was called by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The freshly elected members of the National Assembly would take the oath of office from the Speaker. During the first session, the election schedules for speaker and deputy speaker will also be released.

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