Sedition case: Islamabad court puts off indicting PTI leader Shahbaz Gill


PTI leader Shahbaz Gill — who has been facing a number of cases since his controversial comments about the military establishment — was brought to an Islamabad district and sessions court in an ambulance.

Footage broadcast on television showed Gill lying on a stretcher and apparently convulsing with an oxygen mask.

Last month, the PTI leader was admitted to Lahore’s Services Hospital owing to shortness of breath. He was reportedly having difficulty breathing and coughing.

The PTI leader was arrested last year on charges of sedition and inciting the public against the state institutions.

According to the FIR, a programme was aired on a news channel in which Gill appeared as a guest. Answering a question, he had tried to create a divide between the officers below the rank of brigadier and above besides trying to affiliate the officers below the rank of brigadier with a political party, it had added.

He was later released on bail.

At the previous hearing, the court had decided to frame charges against the suspects after several delays.

During the hearing today, Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi and Gill’s lawyer Burhan Muazzam appeared before the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Tahir Abbas Sipra.

The counsel of Ammad Yousaf — Director News of a private TV channel who was also booked in the case — was present in the courtroom as well.

At the outset of the hearing, Yousaf’s lawyer said that his client was suffering from malaria and had therefore failed to appear in court today. He then submitted a request seeking an exemption from an in-person appearance along with Yousaf’s medical report.

Here, the judge said: “It seems as if [you people] have taken turns. Shahbaz Gill came from Lahore in an ambulance and Ammad Yousaf didn’t show up at all.”

“The matter is stuck […] it seems as if time is being stretched,” ADSJ Sipra added.

Meanwhile, the PTI leader’s lawyer said that his client was present in an ambulance outside the court, adding that he could not move because of the oxygen mask.

Subsequently, the court issued arrest warrants for Ammad Yousaf against surety bonds worth Rs50,000 and adjourned the hearing till Jan 20. It also instructed the lawyers to ensure Gill and Yousaf’s presence at the next hearing.