- Justice Ijazul Ahsan tells PTI to approach relevant forum against torture allegations.
- Rebukes Gill’s lawyer for being unaware of procedure and purpose of physical remand.
- Orders IO to present case record while adjourning hearing till indefinite period.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Friday issued a notice to the federal government in a case pertaining to the physical remand of senior PTI leader Shahbaz Gill in a sedition case and allegation of torture.
The PTI had levelled allegations of torture and sexual abuse meted out to Gill during his physical remand at Adiala jail, Rawalpindi. The party claimed that Gill was tortured and abused during custody, demanding that the matter be probed.
Gill was in police custody since his arrest in the sedition case on August 9 for allegedly inciting mutiny within the military’s ranks. However, he was granted bail just yesterday (Thursday) by the Islamabad High Court following his multiple attempts to get released on bail.
At the outset of the hearing of PTI’s plea by a three-member bench headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Gill’s lawyer Salman Safdar contended that the court trying his client exceeded its authority.
“There is no example of torture meted out to Shahbaz Gill,” he said.
Justice Mazahir Akbar Naqvi inquired what the basis was of the case against Gill and what did he say.
Responding to the query, Safdar said that Gill made a speech for which he was charged under 13 sections.
At this, Justice Naqvi corrected him by saying that it wasn’t a speech but Gill made remarks during an interview on a private TV channel. He also rebuked the lawyer for being unaware of the procedure and purpose of a physical remand.
‘Relevant forum should be approached for torture allegations’
The justice inquired if PTI has approached a relevant forum against the alleged torture on Gill.
“You have to approach the relevant forum. What has restrained you from doing that?” the justice asked.
“Shahbaz Gill’s remand into police custody was the most controversial remand in the country’s history,” Safdar maintained, adding that a judge even stated in the order that torture marks were found on Gill’s body.
At this, Justice Naqvi asked if the judge would appear before the court as a witness.
“Does the criminal code apply to the Supreme Court?” Justice Naqvi asked. At this, Gill’s lawyer responded in the positive.
“Masha’Allah lawyer sahib, the Criminal Code doesn’t apply to the apex court,” Justice Naqvi said sarcastically.
Later, the court directed the investigation officer to appear in the court with a case record and adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.
CEC says election schedule to be issued in a ‘few days’
- CEC Raja issues message to mark National Voters Day.
- Fully prepared, committed to conduct transparent elections, he says.
- Urges people to use their right to vote for the “bright future”.
ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja has said that preparations for the general elections are underway in full swing and the schedule for 2023 polls will be issued in a few days.
In a message to mark National Voters Day, the CEC said the Election Commission is fully aware of its constitutional and legal responsibilities, reported Geo News.
“Fully prepared and committed to conduct transparent and peaceful elections,” he added.
He said the polls organising body is currently busing in election preparations and the printing and distribution of electoral rolls have been completed.
CEC Raja said a notification for the appointments of election staff including returning officers (Ros) and district returning officers (DROs) will be issued in a few days.
His statement came amid heightened political temperature in the country with political parties busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the elections slated to take place on February 8, 2023.
The Finance Division on Tuesday released Rs17.4 billion to the ECP for polls arrangements, putting to rest election delay rumours.
Last week, the ECP also notified the final list of delimitation of constituencies of the national and four provincial assemblies, paving the way for the announcement of the election schedule.
In the message today, the CEC also reiterated that elections will take place at its scheduled time and maintained that the commission will ensure complete security during the polls.
He also urged the people to use their right to vote for the “bright future of the country and nation” and cooperate with the ECP to ensure peaceful elections.
Raja also reminded the people that they have “power of vote,” asking them to cast their ballot while keeping in view the future of their children.
He also called upon voters to fully participate in the election process.
Manzoor Pashteen handed over to police on seven-day physical remand
- PTM leader arrested in Chaman for clashing with police.
- Holding rallies is Manzoor Pashteen’s right, lawyer tells court.
- PTM claims Pashteen’s car was fired upon in Balochistan.
ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad on Thursday handed over Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen to police on a seven-day physical remand.
Pashteen was arrested in Balochistan’s Chaman area on Monday after his security guards allegedly clashed with the police and opened fire.
The PTM leader was presented in the ATC court where Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain approved Pashteen’s seven-day physical remand.
The PTM leader’s lawyer told the court that holding rallies was his client’s right and added that Pashteen’s car was fired upon in Balochistan.
Security personnel from the police, Levies and the Frontier Corps (FC) were carrying out routine checking when armed men accompanying Pashteen refused to stop the vehicle and opened fire at the security forces, the deputy commissioner had said following Pashteen’s arrest.
The official had revealed that the forces retaliated and fired at the tyres of the PTM chief’s vehicle — who along with the armed men managed to flee the scene,according to a Geo News report.
The PTM, in a statement, had confirmed the incident saying that the party chief’s vehicle came under fire near Chaman Press Club while he was en route to Quetta after addressing a sit-in organised by the All Parties Tajir Mehnat Kash.
According to a party spokesperson, eight bullets were fired at Pashteen’s vehicle with the incident injuring one woman — who is being treated in a hospital.
The party chief, along with his entourage, returned to Chaman and surrendered before the authorities, the party spokesperson added.
Toshakhana case: IHC turns down Imran Khan’s withdrawal plea
- Khan moved IHC against verdict on Oct 2023.
- IHC’s decision was reserved on Sep 13.
- ECP disqualified Khan in Toshakhana case.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday turned down former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s plea to withdraw his appeal challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) verdict on his disqualification in the Toshakhana case.
The former prime minister had filed an appeal against the electoral body’s verdict on October 28, 2022, and later sought withdrawal on January 18, 2023.
Khan sought withdrawal of the appeal at the IHC as the matter was pending in the Lahore High Court (LHC).
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq announced the court’s decision which was reserved on September 13 after hearing arguments of all the parties.
On October 21, 2022, the electoral watchdog, in a consensus verdict, had disqualified the former prime minister under Article 63(1)(p) and ruled that the PTI founder was no more a member of the National Assembly. He was disqualified for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.
The ECP had stated that Khan submitted a false affidavit and was found involved in corrupt practices under Article 63(1)(p). The decision was taken unanimously by the electoral authority’s five-member bench.
The deposed prime minister challenged his disqualification in the IHC, praying to the court to set aside the judgment as he said the ECP had no jurisdiction over the matter.
In the meantime, a separate petition was filed in the LHC against Khan’s disqualification. The petition challenged the ECP’s relevant section under which the ex-PTI chief was disqualified.
Initially, the petitioner did not apprise the IHC about his second plea in the LHC over the same matter. Later, the PTI founder requested the IHC to allow him to withdraw his plea as he reportedly wanted the LHC to proceed with the case.
During proceedings, IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq expressed his annoyance over concealing the matter about the second petition in the LHC and remarked: “In principle, the case should proceed in the court where the appeal was filed first.”
Khan’s counsel argued that a larger bench of the LHC was hearing the case.
After hearing the arguments from all sides, the IHC reserved its verdict on September 13, 2023.
In August 2022, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf sent a reference to the ECP under Articles 62A, 63A, and 223, seeking former prime minister Khan’s disqualification in the light of the Toshakhana scam.
The disqualification reference was filed by Ali Gohar Khan, PML-N’s Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha, and five others.
The 28-page reference identified 52 gift items of Toshakhana received by the former premier Khan, violating the law and rules, taken away at nominal prices and most of the gifts were sold in the market, including some precious watches.
The assessed value of the gifts has been put at Rs142,042,100. The gifts were received between August 2018 and December 2021.
According to Ranjha, Khan concealed information about the gift of watches by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in his statement of assets submitted in 2018-2019.
This withholding of information is tantamount to lying which, according to Ranjha, is a crime under Section 137.
He said that Khan was no more Sadiq and Ameen and should be slapped with disqualification for life from contesting the election under Article 62(1)(f), Article 2, Article 3 of the Constitution.
Article 62(1)(f) is the same legal instrument that disqualified former PM Nawaz Sharif from contesting elections and led to his removal from power, Ranjha said.
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