ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will Monday (today) take up government’s petition challenging rejection of its request seeking physical remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill in the sedition case.

A single bench of IHC comprising Acting Chief Justice of IHC Justice Aamer Farooq will conduct hearing of the petition filed through Advocate General Islamabad Jahangir Jadoon and sought physical custody of the PTI leader to collect additional evidence in the case and acquire the names of those allegedly behind the offense.

In the petition, the prosecution cited Shahbaz Gill, the sessions judge, Islamabad and the judicial magistrate as respondents. It stated that the advocate general made a request to adjourn the case till Monday as the government wanted to appoint an SSP for it. However, the additional sessions judge was “adamant to hear the case and decide then.”

It added that the investigation was incomplete and Judicial Magistrate Umar Shabbir granted judicial remand and rejected an extension of Gill’s physical remand which has resulted in the prosecution case being subjected to “serious prejudice.”

The petition said that the sessions judge’s order was “perverse and without jurisdiction” since Shabbir passed a judicial order, instead of an administrative order and thus had the power to exercise his revision jurisdiction if any illegality came to the court’s knowledge.

Jadoon argued that the judicial magistrate did not take into account that “valuable evidence will not be collected” unless Gill cooperated with the investigation and the police had yet to recover his cell phone and the data from it.

He added that Gill’s physical custody was also required to obtain information about other suspects in the case. Jadoon argued that the judicial magistrate had not realized the “gravity of the offence” and sent Gill to judicial custody without considering the police’s request for his physical remand on merit.

The petition said the orders of the two judges were “capricious, perverse and against the provision of applicable law,” and if it was not accepted for hearing, then the state institution would face “irreparable loss” and Gill would be “acquitted.”

It requested physical custody of the accused, arguing that the police have yet to recover the mobile phone of the accused containing necessary information/date to corroborate the contents of FIR as a piece of evidence.

It further said that the personal mobile phone and laptop of the accused were used in the occurrence as the written transcript of Gill’s statement given to a TV channel was sent to him on WhatsApp by someone.

It was argued that the judicial magistrate “did not determine the gravity of the offense and rejected the police request for physical custody and sent the nominated accused in FIR to judicial custody without considering the police request of merits.”

The petition highlighted that the review appeal was dismissed on the basis of technicalities and that a “case must be decided on merits rather than technicalities.”

It requested the IHC to set aside the orders of the two judges, grant Gill’s physical custody to the investigating agency for the collection of further evidence and declare that the judicial magistrate’s verdict was a judicial order and open to revision by the sessions judge and the IHC.