A day after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and close aide of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shahbaz Gill was arrested in a treason case, an Islamabad court approved two-day physical remand of him.
Gill was arrested on charges of colluding with a private TV news channel in carrying out propaganda against the state.
"We also need to investigate at whose behest the programme was aired," the police told the judge. Faisal Chauhdry, Gill's counsel, told the judge that the programme was not aired on anyone's directives, reported Geo TV.
Notably, regulatory watchdog PEMRA has alleged that the ARY News channel was airing "false, hateful and seditious" content based on "absolute disinformation with a clear and present threat to national security by instigating rebellion within the armed forces." The case hearing took place amid strict security arrangements, with duty magistrate Umar Shabbir ordering police to present the PTI leader in court on Friday. During the brief proceedings, police requested a remand of the PTI leader.
The court then briefly reserved its verdict before eventually granting a two-day physical remand. Providing reasons for the remand, the police told the court they still need to recover Gill's mobile phone and the device he used to make the statements he was arrested for.
Amid the Pakistan government's crackdown on private television broadcaster ARY News for carrying out "anti-state propaganda", the founder and CEO of the network Salman Iqbal along with two of its news anchors have been booked under sedition charges.
Outlet's senior Vice President Ammad Yousaf was arrested from Karachi in the early hours of Wednesday, the channel said.
"After the ban on ARY yesterday, they've today arrested @SHABAZGIL. Pakistan is living under a fascist imported government, who doesn't care about the human rights of the people of Pakistan. We strongly demand the immediate release of Dr Gill," Imran Khan's PTI tweeted.
PTI leader and former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Gill was picked up from Banigala Chowk by unidentified personnel in cars with missing number plates.
"Shahbaz Gil has been abducted from Bani Gala Chowk by people who came in vehicles without number plates," Chaudhry tweeted.
The former prime minister slammed the arrest, asking "can such shameful acts take place in any democracy?" "This is an abduction not an arrest. Can such shameful acts take place in any democracy? Political workers treated as enemies. And all to make us accept a foreign-backed government of crooks," Imran Khan tweeted.
An Islamabad police spokesperson said that Shahbaz Gill has been taken into custody for inciting the public against the state institutions, Geo News reported. (ANI)