ISLAMABAD: A district court in Islamabad on Friday suspended the physical police remand of Dr Shahbaz Gill, the chief of staff of ex-premier Imran Khan, and ordered police to keep him in hospital until Monday.
Police had presented Gill in court today seeking an extension in his physical remand for another eight days to complete investigations in a case against him involving charges of sedition and incitement to mutiny.
“Shahbaz Gill is apparently unwell and he is under treatment. His physical remand is suspended till Monday,” judicial magistrate Raja Farrukh Ali Khan ruled, ordering that Gill be reexamined by doctors and a medical report submitted in court by Monday.
On Friday morning, Islamabad police said in a statement Gill was "pretending to be ill" to obstruct the investigation and a medical board had declared him ‘clinically stable’ after a thorough examination and tests.
Gill, a senior member of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was brought to PIMS on Wednesday night in an ambulance from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for a check-up after Islamabad police took over his custody following a court ordering a two-day physical remand. A government prosecutor had argued that Gill needed to be remanded in police custody for an additional two days so that police could complete their investigation into a sedition case filed against him.
Last Friday, after Gill had been in police custody for two days, the court sent him to jail on judicial remand, rejecting a request by the police to extend the suspect’s physical remand. But in a rare move on Wednesday, a local court remanded Gill back into police custody.
Gill has been under arrest since last Tuesday for comments he made during a news bulletin that the national electronic media regulator has called “seditious.”
“The medical board declared the accused … medically healthy,” Islamabad police said on Twitter on Friday, saying Gill was “pretending to be ill under false pretences … to obstruct the investigation.”
“After reviewing the reports and opinions from cardiologist and psychiatrist, patient [Gill] is clinically stable,” a six-member medical board of senior doctors said in its report dated August 18. “Although he is a known case of bronchial asthma, currently he has no signs of exacerbation of acute asthma.”
“Pulmonologist advised and discharged on medication,” the report, a copy of which is available with Arab News, said.
A day earlier, doctors who checked Gill at PIMS said he needed to be examined by a cardiologist and pulmonologist.
Video footage made outside a local court on Friday and widely shared on social media showed Gill in a wheelchair, surrounded by policemen, and saying “I can’t breathe.”
Khan and the PTI party have said Gill has been tortured in police custody, which Islamabad police have denied.
The case against the Khan aide relates to comments made on ARY News last Monday asking army officers not to follow orders of their top command if they were “against the sentiments of the masses.”
The country’s national media regulator described the statement as “seditious” and said it was tantamount to inciting revolt within the military. The regulator also issued a show-cause notice to the channel, ARY News, for airing the “illegal” content. The channel has since been off air.