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ISLAMABAD: A local court on Friday ordered to keep Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and chief of staff of former premier Imran Khan in the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) till Monday and repeat his medical tests.

Judicial Magistrate Raja Farrukh Ali Khan while announcing its reserved judgment on the police plea seeking extension in Gill’s physical remand in sedition case ordered to shift Gill to the PIMS and conduct his medical tests again as he is a patient of asthma.

The court rejected Gill’s counsel’s request that the physical remand of their client has been completed and that he should not be handed over to the police.

The two-day physical remand of Gill has not yet started, the judge remarked.

According to the court’s order that the investigating officer (IO) had sought permission from the PIMS’ management to conduct an investigation but his request was refused. If the IO had granted the permission, “it could have been considered that the time of physical remand started from the point when the doctor granted permission for the investigation,” it says.

It added that the remand time would start when the custody of the accused would formally be given to the IO for interrogation and recovery and by no stretch of the imagination the time spent by the accused in hospital can be considered as a time of physical remand, therefore, the request of counsel for the accused was turned down.

According to the court’s order, the formal custody of Gill was handed over to the police at 7:15am today. The court concluded that the remand time would start from the point when hospital authorities, after going through medical investigations, declare the accused fit for facing physical remand and the same is missing in the instant case.

It says that the court observed a physical examination of the suspect as the court had found that he was wheezing and experiencing shortness of breath. The court order also mentioned that an oxygen cylinder had also been provided to Gill in the courtroom upon his request.

The court’s order says that it is not out of place to mention here that if the medical board of the PIMS authorities came to the conclusion that the accused is fit to be discharged from the hospital, then why was he brought on the premises of the court in an ambulance and that too with oxygen support.

“The said fact alone is sufficient to hold that neither the hospital authorities nor the police authorities are confident enough regarding the health of the accused,” the court said, adding that therefore, under the attending circumstances of the case in hand, “I am not inclined to hand over the custody of the accused to police for 48 hours today.”

The court order says that the accused be sent back to PIMS hospital for a thorough investigation regarding his asthma and respiratory disease. The handing over of Gill to police for the completion of his two-day remand was hereby suspended till Monday and directed the IO to hand over Gill to PIMS authorities for a medical examination.

Faisal Chaudhry, Gill’s lawyer told the court that the police have taken his client to the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) office of the capital police. They should be questioned why they shifted Gill to the CIA office, he further said. To this, the judge said that “leave these things, he has issued the order.” The judge said that Gill’s health was not fine, and he should be shifted to the hospital. “If his condition was good, why he has been brought in an ambulance to court,” the judge asked.

Earlier, the police produced Gill in a wheelchair from PIMS hospital after reportedly being deemed fit by a medical board amid tight security arrangements before the court. Police removed Gill’s oxygen mask when he was disembarked from the police van. On this, Gill started crying for the return of his mask as could not breathe.

At the start of the hearing of the case, Gill’s lawyer told the court that the lungs of his client have been affected due to which he faced difficulties in breathing. He met with Gill in the morning and he is not fit. He said that the police are insisting that Gill could himself come upstairs. To this, the judge said the accused will have to be brought up. The court directed the police to pick up the accused and bring him up.

When the accused was brought by the police to the courtroom, the judge asked him “would you like to stay in the court.”

“Provide me with my oxygen mask as it was snatched by the police, I would stay in the court,” he replied. Later, an oxygen cylinder was also brought to the court.

During the hearing, the prosecution requested the court to extend the physical remand of the accused for another eight days. At this, the court inquired why the police were requesting another eight days of Gill’s custody when a two-day remand had already been granted. The first question is whether the police were able to investigate in two days, the court said.

“Are the police seeking a new remand or an extension in the existing remand?” the judge questioned, asking whether the initial two-day remand had even started technically.

Special prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi said the investigation officer was supposed to take care of the accused’s health if the court had granted a remand. “It is written nowhere that physical remand cannot be granted if the accused is unwell,” he said, adding the IO could have the accused undergo a medical examination without a court’s order.

Faisal Chaudhry objected to the police request for an extension of the physical remand of his client. He said his client was unwell and the medical report also showed that his client had been subjected to severe torture. He told the court that he had been produced before the court in a wheelchair.

He argued that there was a threat to his life if the physical remand was granted. The prosecution had given surety that Gill would be kept in the hospital till Monday, he said.

To this, the judge said he wanted to see the court’s orders.

During the hearing, Gill’s lawyer told the court that the medical report presented before it was not original and therefore, kindly summon his original medical report.

The court after hearing arguments of both the parties reserved its verdict for some time. Later while announcing its judgment, ordered to keep Gill in hospital till Monday and a repeat of his medical test. Meanwhile, the capital police through a tweet termed Gill’s illness an excuse, saying the medical board had declared him completely fit. “The accused is pretending to be sick and wants to create hurdles in the investigation through this excuse.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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