ISLAMABAD: Dr. Shahbaz Gill, a senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former prime minister Imran Khan’s chief of staff, on Monday moved the Islamabad High Court against a sedition case filed against him, accusing the police of charging him at the federal government’s behest.
Gill was arrested last Tuesday, a day after he spoke on a talk show aired by ARY News, asking army officers not to follow orders of their top command if they were “against the sentiments of the masses.” ARY News has since also been taken off air by the electronic media regulator which has called Gill’s comments “seditious” and tantamount to inciting mutiny against the military.
“Islamabad Police registered the case to show its loyalty to the government,” Gill said in his plea, referring to the sedition case against him. “The case was filed just to satisfy the political agenda of the federal government.”
Senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said the party stood with Gill, who he said was being persecuted as he was not among the “powerful.”
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority last week issued a show-cause notice to the ARY channel, saying Gill’s comments amounted to inciting mutiny within the army.
The channel’s top management told Arab News on Friday its no-objection certificate had been revoked suddenly and unilaterally.
“What crime have we committed,” its owner Salman Iqbal asked. “We are being punished for a statement by a politician which we have already disowned. But such stern action after a clarification shows that the government has made its mind to silence a critical voice.”
The channel was still off air in many parts of the country on Monday evening.