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Allegations of Shahbaz Gill’s torture cannot be ignored, IHC rules

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  • “Constitution and courts are guardians of prisoners’ rights,” says IHC.
  • Orders interior ministry to conduct inquiry on allegations of torture on Gill.
  • Says “SSP rank official should ensure that no violence is inflicted on Gill during physical remand”.

The allegations of torture on senior PTI leader Shahbaz Gill “cannot be ignored”, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled on Wednesday, in the verdict issued on his plea against extension in his physical remand.

“The Constitution and the courts are the guardians of prisoners’ rights and protectors against torture,” the IHC stated in a 21-page verdict.

The verdict also states: “Torture of an accused person cannot be allowed under the guise of gathering evidence.”

The verdict, authored by IHC acting chief justice, Justice Aamir Farooq, directed the Ministry of Interior to conduct an inquiry on the allegations and task a retired high court judge to appoint an inquiry officer.

The IHC disposed of the plea against the extension in Gill’s physical remand to the police, directing that an officer of the rank of senior superintendent of police should supervise and ensure that no violence is inflicted on Gill during physical remand.

The verdict stated that the IG Police denied allegations of any torture inflicted on Gill but when he arrived at Adiala Jail on August 12, the medical officer noted in the register that he had several wounds and marks on his body.

As per the Rule 20 of the Prison Code Rules, a prisoner with injuries on his body should be examined immediately by the medical officer when he is admitted into prison from police custody.

“If the examination reveals unexplained injuries not already recorded in the medico legal report accompanying the prisoner, a report shall at once be made to the Sessions Judge and officer Incharge of the prosecution and Superintendent police,” the rules state.

The judgment said that no action was taken in this regard as neither the sessions judge or superintendent of police or office of advocate general, were informed about Gill’s condition.

Later, when a medical board was formed for the medical examination of Gill, on August 13 and 15, the prosecution said that Gill refused to have himself examined.

Moreover, a report on the medical examination performed on August 17 clearly stated that Gill needs monitoring and assessment but nothing about physical torture.

Pakistan

As PM Shehbaz creates committees to address the PPP’s issues, a thaw is evident.

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In response to the issues brought up by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari during their meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has established committees.

The PPP heavyweights and PML-N leaders met after Bilawal did not attend the June 12 National Assembly session when the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2024–25 was unveiled.

The PPP chief’s concerns were mostly addressed by the prime minister at the meeting, when he also ordered committees to look into his grievances.

Sources claim that on Friday, the committees would undertake discussions to settle the differences between the ruling parties.

Bilawal once voiced concern over the PPP’s lack of faith in the budget. He emphasised that the PML-N is not carrying out the arrangement that the PPP had made to support the government.

Additionally, he charged that the Punjabi government was erecting obstacles in the way of the PPP’s advancement in the region.

For the welfare of the people as well as the growth and prosperity of the nation, Prime Minister Shehbaz urged all political parties to cooperate.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Senate Chairman, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Syed Khursheed Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar, and Sherry Rehman were among the PPP delegation members.

Speaking at the event, the premier stated that additional talks over the budget for 2024–2025 were held with the Pakistan Peoples Party. He claimed that although the stock market had seen an unprecedented boom, the economy was exhibiting encouraging signs.

He claimed that the new fiscal year’s budget included measures to help the average person. He promised that committees will continue to be used for further consultation.

Afterwards, the prime minister hosted a dinner reception in honour of the PPP delegation.

In attendance were Speaker of the National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, Federal Ministers for Planning and Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb and Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Political Affairs Rana Sanaullah, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Ali Pervez Malik, and former federal minister Khawaja Saad Rafique.

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The court hinted at a June 27 ruling in the Imran-Bushra iddat nikah case.

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Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi filed petitions in the iddat nikah issue, and a municipal court in Islamabad has intimated that it may rule on their cases by June 27.

Beyond this period, the court made it clear that no more time will be granted for arguments. “Even if no party appears, the court will take a decision based on the record of the case,” it said.

Supporters of PTI stood outside the courtroom during today’s hearing to show their support for Bushra Bibi.

Further Meetings Both Bushra Bibi and Imran Khan begged for their sentences to be suspended during the session, which was chaired by Judge Afzal Majoka.

The PTI founder was defended by attorney Salman Akram Raja, and Bushra Bibi was represented by Usman Riaz Gill. Khawar Maneka’s representative, Zahid Asif Chaudhry, wrote a letter.

Attorney Salman Akram Raja fervently pleaded in favour of the sentence suspension. “This case is, in fact, an abhorrent assault on a Pakistani woman’s chastity. Today, the court was presented with this entire discussion. The Supreme Court has issued multiple rulings. Each and every witness has admitted to lying to this court. “It has been made clear in front of the court,” Raja declared outside the building, wishing for the administration of justice.

The court made the observation that a judgement on the applications for sentence suspension needed to be made by June 27 at the latest.

The court stated that Salman Akram Raja’s arguments were only partially heard today in its written ruling for the day. Zahid Asif also sought for more time to prepare, and Usman Riaz Gill, Bushra Bibi’s attorney, asked for more time to make his case.

The next hearing is set for June 25 by the court. Using the available records, the decision about the applications for sentence suspension will be made before June 27, regardless of the attendance of all parties.

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“Awaam Pakistan”: These influential politicians are joining the new party led by Abbasi

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The former finance minister revealed in a statement that Abbasi will be the first convener of Awaam Pakistan, which will begin next month.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a former prime minister, will lead the Awaam Pakistan Party.

Awaam Pakistan will include former PML-N leaders Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi, Javed Abbasi, Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Zahid Binnouri, Rana Zahid Tauseef, and Sardar Anwar Soomro, according to Miftah’s announcement.

The former MQM MNA Sheikh Salahuddin and former health minister Dr. Zafar Mirza will also join the Abbasi-led party.

On July 6, the AP launch ceremony will take place in Islamabad.

From August 2017 to May 2018, Abbasi, the former prime minister, held the position.

Given his disagreements with the PML-N’s upper echelons, it is important to note that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had made multiple allusions to the possibility of starting a new party.

The former prime minister filed the necessary paperwork to the poll election commission in April of this year in order to register a new political party. He and the PML-N broke apart after a year of disagreements.

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