ISLAMABAD: A medical board at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad on Thursday recommended that Dr Shahbaz Gill, the chief of staff of ex-premier Imran Khan, needed to be examined by a cardiologist and a pulmonologist, following accusations by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that he had been tortured in police custody while under arrest on sedition and incitement to mutiny charges.
Gill 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.
On Thursday, police submitted Gill’s medical report to judicial magistrate Raja Farrukh Ali Khan in Islamabad as per the orders of a local court.
“The medical board unanimously concluded that patient [Gill] needs monitoring and assessment by cardiologist and pulmonologist for further management plan,” the report, compiled by a four-member medical board, said. “The patient may need further investigations if required.”
“Patient is a known case of asthma since childhood and on inhaled bronchodilators when required, now presented with shortness of breath, body aches including left shoulder, back, neck, right gluteal region and left sided chest pain,” the report added.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court allowed Gill’s lawyers to meet him at PIMS.
During the IHC's proceedings, Inspector General Police Islamabad rejected the PTI’s allegations that Gill was tortured in police custody in response to a question by acting chief justice Amir Farooq.
“There is a hue and cry about the torture. We have to find this out if it was true or just a hype created by the media,” the judge said.
Special prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi informed the court the suspect did not bring up the accusations of torture before a magistrate.
The court adjourned the hearing till Monday, rejecting a plea by Gill’s lawyers that his physical remand with police be suspended.
Gill was arrested last Tuesday, a day after he made controversial comments in a talk show aired by a private news channel, 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 of 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.
Gill and his PTI party have accused the police of torturing him while in custody. PTI chairman Imran Khan wrote on Twitter on Wednesday he was "very concerned about Shahbaz Gill being sent into police remand again."
"He is in a fragile state of mental & physical health because of the torture inflicted on him when he was abducted & taken to undisclosed location & then again at the police station," Khan said.