Prison officials at Adiala jail Wednesday evening refused – for over four hours — to hand over Shahbaz Gill to an Islamabad police party that arrived at the prison to secure custody of the PTI leader, who was earlier remanded into police custody by the court.
The refusal led to a standoff that ended only when Punjab officials relented in view of the federal government’s decision to send Rangers and Frontier Constabulary (FC) to Adiala jail to ensure compliance with court orders, SAMAA TV reported.
Subsequently, Gill was moved to PIMS Hospital in Islamabad.
The resistance from Punjab officials — under the Pervaiz Elahi government — came shortly after Imran Khan and other party leaders expressed fears that Islamabad police will extract from Gill a ‘false statement’ against Imran Khan during the interrogation.
Imran Khan also ordered the Punjab government to somehow move Gill to a hospital to evade his transfer to Islamabad authorities, even if it meant flouting court orders.
Busloads of policemen
SAMAA TV reported that when a party from Islamabad police – led by DSP Khalid Awan, Kohisar Police Station SHO Arshad Hussain and Investigation Officer Talat — arrived at Adiala jail, the prison officials said that they were moving Gill to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Rawalpindi.
Islamabad police officials, however, insisted on securing his custody as ordered by the court.
As the argument continued more police personnel from both Punjab police and Islamabad police arrived at the jail, creating a standoff, which continues even after four hours.
Two busloads of Punjab police personnel arrived at the Adiala jail while senior officials from Islamabad police and Punjab police also poured in.
There were so many vehicles outside the prison gate the entry was blocked, the TV reported.
ATS and Punjab police personnel were deployed at the gate.
Officials also called in ambulances from Rescue 1122, which is under the Punjab government, and PIMS Hospital, which is under Islamabad authorities.
The Punjab authorities also deployed a police contingent at DHQ Rawalpindi where Gill was to be moved. Health officials had finalized the arrangement for his stay.
After the deadlock could not break for four hours, the federal government decided to call in Rangers and FC at around 9pm.
Islamabad Capital Police, in a statement posted to Twitter, said that it had handed over the court ruling to the jail authorities.
Islamabad Police has completed all legal requirements and will implement the orders of the court and hope for amicable cooperation, the statement said.
Soon after the Rangers moved in, the prison official relented and handed over Gill to the Islamabad police. He traveled in an ambulance to Islamabad’s PIMS Hospital, where he has been admitted to the cardiac center.
A five-member medical, headed by Professor Shajee Siddiqui, has been constituted to assess Gill’s health
Neurosurgeon Dr Lal Rehman and Ortheopedic Surgeon Dr Rizwan Malik are also on tehe board.
The board will also recommend medical treatment for Gill.
After the deadlock was resolved, additional contingents of Punjab police left the prison to move back.
Shahbaz Gill faces sedition charges and was detained on August 9, a day after he urged personnel of the armed forces to disobey their commanders. Gill made the remarks in a phone-in conversation over a private-run TV channel.
He was sent to Adiala jail only two days after being arrested as a lower court turned down the police request to extend his physical remand.
After the police petitioned the Islamabad High Court, the Islamabad District and Sessions Court on Wednesday granted police 48 hours to interrogate Gill to complete their investigation.
Police say they want to recover the mobile phone and other devices being used by Gill.