IHC grants bail to Shahbaz Gill in sedition case

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Zubair Qureshi
Islamabad

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday granted bail to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and a close aide to Imran Khan, Shahbaz Gill in sedition case against surety bonds of Rs500,000. The case was lodged against Gill last month for allegedly inciting mutiny within the military’s ranks.

During the course of proceedings on Thursday, Gill’s lawyer, Salman Safdar, recalled that an additional sessions judge had already rejected a plea for the PTI leader’s bail.

The lawyer said the case against Gill was registered under 14 sections of the Pakistan Penal Code on the basis of a “speech”, and a plea for the disposal of the case was pending in the court.

“The entire case revolves around a speech,” he said. He contended that the case was based on “mala fide” and politically motivated, adding that the investigation had already been completed and no more articles needed to be confiscated from Gill.

He reminded the court that Gill had served as a special assistant to the prime minister during the PTI’s tenure and was later appointed as party chairperson Imran Khan’s chief of staff.

Justice Minallah asked him whether Gill had actually made the statements quoted in the FIR or not. “How will you justify such comments coming from a party representative? Why do political parties drag the armed forces into politics?” the IHC CJ questioned.

Gill’s lawyer responded by saying that statements from the complainant of the case had been a bigger cause of anarchy. “My client’s speech did not cause as much anarchy as the complainant made it out to be.”

He alleged that some parts from Gill’s remarks had been removed and only some parts were put together to make a case. Justice Minallah, however, said: “Shahbaz Gill’s statements were inappropriate and no justification could be given for them.

They were also defamatory. People’s reputations should not be maligned, said the chief justice. While presenting his arguments, Special Prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi said, “It was not written anywhere that armed forces would get the case registered against a person.

He added that according to the law, inciting mutiny was abetting the crime and Gill made the remarks on television, which had a large audience, the prosecutor said.

At that, Justice Minallah asked him not to give arguments on mutiny. He added that Gill could only be charged with inciting mutiny if the involvement of another officer or personnel was proved. “People label others traitors on a whim,” Justice Minallah remarked.

The prosecutor also cited Section 131 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which he said mentioned the punishment for giving statements against the armed forces.

 

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