October 3, 2022

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday granted bail to PTI leader Shahbaz Gill in a sedition case that was registered against him for sedition and inciting the public against state institutions.

The former aide to ousted premier Imran Khan was arrested on August 9 after he had called for rebellion within the army and called on the officers to defy certain orders from the top command during a private TV channel’s bulletin.

He had been detained ever since with lower courts denying his bail pleas.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah presided over the hearing as the PTI leader’s counsel Salman Safdar argued that the case was registered under “malicious intent” and “politically motivated”.

“The investigation has been completed. The entire case is based on one speech,” the lawyer added.

Justice Minallah inquired if Gill had stated the words as reported in the FIR and if it could be justified to “drag the armed forces into politics”.

“It is not merely a speech,” the judge remarked.

Gill’s counsel argued that his client had not made “a single utterance against the armed forces” and claimed that “different sections of his speech were taken out of context due to ulterior motives”.

The lawyer also read a transcript of Gill’s speech and argued that his statements were exaggerated by the petitioner who, he further argued, was not even the affected party.

“Nobody else has the right to file a case on behalf of the armed forces,” he said.

The IHC CJ remarked that the armed forces were not so weak that someone’s irresponsible statements would affect them.

He added that in no way could Gill’s irresponsible statements be justified.

The court inquired if the government’s permission was sought before the case was registered.

Safdar claimed the government was not consulted on the matter. However, Special Prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi contradicted him and said the government’s permission was indeed sought.

Gill’s counsel noted that even the Quaid-e-Azam had said that wrong orders should not be followed.

He argued that the PTI leader had said nothing different.

However, the court still deemed Gill’s remarks as “irresponsible”.

The court inquired whether or not the investigation had revealed if Gill had contacted a soldier to instigate mutiny.

Prosecutor Abbasi replied that not one but all soldiers were instigated by Gill.

“Whether mutiny takes place or not, the inciting of anger through rhetoric is the equivalent of attempting mutiny,” he added.

The court nonetheless held that “no solid evidence” had thus far been found against Gill and therefore he could not be refused bail.

Justice Minallah instructed the prosecution to build a stronger case and continue its investigation.

In the meantime, the court granted Gill’s request for bail and directed the payment of a surety bond of Rs500,000.

Later, Gill was released from Adiala jail and he left for his home along with his brother Yasin Gill, father-in-law Asad Ejaz and other relatives.

However, no top leader of the PTI reached Adiala jail on the occasion of his release.

MPA Ejaz Khan Jazi from Rawalpindi, Shaukat Rasheed Butt and other PTI activists were present outside the jail and showered flower petals at Gill’s car as soon as it left the jail.

His car was diverted from Adiala Road to the one that led to Chakri.

Without saying a word, he only waved at the media personnel waiting for him outside the jail.

The security personnel with him said he would head for Lahore. Now it is not clear whether Gill would go to his home in Lahore or Faisalabad.

 

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