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ISLAMABAD: A local court on Wednesday turned down a police plea seeking further extension in the physical remand of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and party chairman Imran Khan’s chief of staff, Dr Shahbaz Gill and send him to jail on judicial remand in a sedition case.

Judicial Magistrate Malik Aman while announcing its reserved verdict rejected the police’s request to extend Gill’s physical remand for seven days and send him to prison on judicial remand.

The court directed the investigation officer (IO) to produce the accused before the court on September 7.

The police produced Gill before the court following the expiry of his two days of physical remand amid tight security arrangements.

Gill’s counsel Faisal Chaudhry, Raja Rizwan Abbasi, and the investigation officer (IO) of the case appeared before the court.

At the start of the hearing, the judge inquired whether the accused had arrived. To this, Gill’s lawyer told the court that according to the court’s order the arrival time of the accused was 1pm but the police have yet not produced the accused before the court. Shall we start arguments, Chaudhry asked.

To this, the judge said that he has yet not seen the case file. He will first check what has been written by the IO in the case file.

Presenting his arguments, the special prosecutor requested the court to extend the physical remand for another seven days to conduct a further investigation. He also sought judicial remand of Gill in another case of possessing an illegal weapon by the suspect.

The prosecutor further told the court that police were interrogating Gill on a daily basis. The custody of the accused is mandatory for conducting his polygraph test, he said, adding that the police have not wasted a single second during the investigation of Gill. The investigation of Gill has yet not been completed, he further said.

Abbasi told the court that during the two days of physical remand, the police raided and searched the accused room at the Parliament Lodges and recovered phones and four USBs. But we still require answers to some questions, he said.

He further argued that a key mobile phone of Gill has yet not recovered and his polygraph test was to be conducted in Lahore. At that, the judge inquired whether the request for a polygraph test was not made during Gill’s last remand.

Abbasi replied that the request was not made during the last remand period but the one that was suspended prior to that.

The judge remarked that an August 22 court order in the case mentioned that the polygraph test would be conducted in Islamabad.

The prosecutor told the court that the order stated that the test might be conducted in the capital. “If it could be carried out in Islamabad, we would get it done here,” he said.

He said that some progress had been made in the investigation but the probe was yet to be completed. But we have to make some recoveries and interrogation about some accused, he said.

The prosecutor said that a remand of 15 days could be granted to a suspect. Progress has been made in two days of remand and even another case was registered during this period, he said. He said that the request for the extension in the physical remand of the accused was not illegal.

The judge observed that Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Zeba Chaudhry had granted 48 hours remand and he also remanded the accused for 48 hours into police custody. Did judge Zeba Chaudhry leave any room for him to further extend the physical remand of the accused, he asked.

The prosecutor read out the order of ADSJ Zeba Chaudhry. He said that ADSJ Zeba Chaudhry had granted minimum time but did not close the gate of extension of physical remand. The court did not say that the police are given the last chance for completion of the investigation, he further argued.

He requested the court to approve his plea and grant the physical remand of the accused to conduct further investigation.

Gill’s lawyer while arguing before the court said that the police have raided Gill’s room at the Parliament Lodges with the cooperation of the media. Police have requested for extension in physical remand just to recover a mobile, he said.

He said that police have so far recovered four mobile phones. Which mobile phone do the police want to be recovered, he asked. The accused had given his interview to a TV channel on a landline number, he said.

Chaudhry said that the prosecution does not know yet whether a polygraph test facility is available in Islamabad or not. Despite the passage of 16 days, the police have done nothing except subjecting the accused to severe torture, he said.

Gill’s counsel objecting to the police plea requested to reject the police application for further extension in physical remand. The court after hearing the arguments of both parties reserved its judgment for some time. Later, while announcing its judgment, send Gill to jail.

Gill after appearing before the court, while responding to a question about reports of sexual assault, revealed that he was electrocuted in his private parts during the investigation aimed to record any statement against anyone.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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