Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has termed the allegations against the government of the custodial torture of Imran Khan’s chief of staff Shahbaz Gill a “drama which is nothing but a lie” with the aim to draw attention away from the party’s “anti-state” narrative.
“I can confirm as the interior minister that no torture was carried out against Gill,” said Sanaullah while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday
Referring to Gill’s statement that landed him in jail on charges of sedition, Sanaullah said that the PTI leader had “everything planned with the private television channel, from when they will call him, to how long the conversation will run”.
“Shahbaz played a fixed match. They planned that he has to speak for 14 minutes uninterruptedly in response to the questions asked during the programme.
“What Shahbaz said is Imran’s narrative. There is no doubt that it is a foreign agenda,” he said.
The interior minister denounced Khan’s remarks from the night prior, when he addressed a rally and spoke at length against the police and judiciary, saying that “Imran Niazi’s narrative is an anti-state agenda”.
Speaking of the divisive social media trends that were launched in the wake of the Lasbela helicopter tragedy in which six army personnel were martyred, Sanaullah alleged that it was an “organised campaign” which had the “support of Imran Khan”.
The minister said that many politicians had “spoken in the past about the interference of the establishment, but no one ever provoked anyone to stop obeying the orders of the command”.
“Such a heinous conspiracy will neither be tolerated by the state, nor forgiven,” he said.
The federal minister said that he is waiting for Imran Khan to go on a long march upon which “a more effective response than that on May 25 will be given”.
Implying a low turnout in yesterday’s rally, Sanaullah said: “Imran Khan must have now realised what his real strength is.”
He said that Khan threatened the institutions in his speech yesterday, regretted the former prime minister threatened a female judge after taking her name.
Sanaullah was referring to Khan taking Zeba Chaudhry’s name, the additional district and sessions judge who approved the Islamabad Police’s request for a 48-hour physical remand of Gill.
The minister said that the statements by Khan, a public office holder, are “impeachable” and are being investigated for whether they constitute filing a new case or that a reference be added to the existing case.
Khan to file cases against police, judiciary over Gill ‘torture’
A day earlier, while addressing a public gathering at the F-9 park in Islamabad, Khan had threatened to not spare Islamabad’s inspector-general, deputy inspector general, and female magistrate, vowing to file cases against them for “torturing” Shahbaz Gill.
“We will not spare the IG and DIG,” he said, while addressing the gathering, also calling out Judge Zeba Chaudhry and asking her to be prepared for “action” against her.
The PTI chief led a rally in Islamabad from Zero Point to F-9 Park in support of incarcerated Gill, who the party has been repeatedly claiming was tortured in police custody.
He went on to say that if a case can be registered against Gill then Fazlur Rehman, Nawaz Sharif, and Rana Sanaullah will also face judicial proceedings.
“They [coalition government] are trying to scare us by torturing Gill,” he said, adding that this is a “decisive moment” for the people of the country.
Reiterating his stance not to bow down, he said “in the garb of Gill’s arrest they are trying to enslave the people”.
Khan added: “What happened with Gill wasn’t because of what he said. [Coalition government leaders] said things much more damaging to the army”.
The former prime minister alleged that Gill was “caught and tortured” to send a message and frighten the people that if he could be broken mentally then anyone could.
“What happened with Gill was a blatant violation of law,” he said, accusing the magistrate of approving Gill’s physical remand to the police “despite knowing Gill was being tortured”.
Addressing the Supreme Court, Khan said: “With all due respect I want to say that it is the responsibility of the apex court to enforce laws.”
He alleged that whenever police officials were questioned about the current “injustice”, they said they were not at fault and got “orders from above”.