Marriyum rejects PTI's 'propaganda' of Gill's torture
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb Saturday criticised PTI chief Imran Khan and party members for spreading “fake propaganda” on media regarding the torture of Shahbaz Gill.
Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, the information minister released videos of Gill, who is currently under treatment at PIMS Hospital, showing that the PTI leader is “perfectly fine” and no signs of torture can be seen on Imran Khan's chief of staff.
Gill was arrested on August 9 in connection with an FIR registered against him for allegedly inciting mutiny among the armed forces. The PTI has lobbed allegations of Gill's torture ever since his stay at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail, with party chairman Imran Khan further claiming that Gill was subjected to sexual abuse as well.
She said propaganda is underway that torture and sexual abuse happened with Gill in order to deflect attention from his current case regarding his controversial comments.
"I want to categorically say that torture shouldn't happen against anyone but it didn't happen here. It is only propaganda," she said.
The information minister claimed that a video of a separate incident in Chakwal — where a child predator was tortured by locals — was edited and portrayed as a video of Gill's alleged torture.
"Airing such wrong videos comes in the domain of cybercrime," Aurangzeb said, adding that justification for airing this "propaganda" was being linked with the freedom of opinion and expression.
The information minister mocked Gill for staging propaganda as soon as he sees the camera. “This video is fake and he wasn’t tortured,” she said, accusing PTI of making attempts to change the narrative.
“A case has been registered against Gill according to the law and investigation is underway,” Aurangzeb said, terming the news regarding him being sexually assaulted as “fake”.
“A storm of misbehaviour was seen on social media,” Aurangzeb said, warning that spreading fake videos fall under the category of cybercrime.
The information minister said that an inquiry is being held regarding this matter and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah “will soon present evidence in front of everybody.”
Aurangzeb reiterated that the "real purpose" behind the torture claims was to "change the story", alleging that the PTI had done it in the recent past too by criticising the Lasbela helicopter martyrs on social media after the foreign funding verdict came in and then through Gill's comments after blowback on the online social media campaign and arrests of allegedly PTI-related individuals behind it.
The information minister questioned if anyone had seen videos or pictures of Gill's torture as she alleged that Imran was the "chief instigator" to whom all the links go back.
She subsequently aired a video of Gill with Islamabad police, claiming that it was shot an hour before her press conference and showed him to be reasonably well and interacting with police without the need for an oxygen mask.
Footage broadcast on television on Friday had shown that Gill was brought to court in a wheelchair where he appeared to be audibly wheezing and was begging officials to give him his mask.
"Is this same person about whom videos [of being tortured] are being run? This is propaganda instigated by Imran Khan to deflect attention away from people who incited mutiny in institutions," Aurangzeb said.
She said the video she showed reflected Gill's "real situation".
The information minister also rebuked the media for airing the alleged footage without verification as she called on the gatekeepers to exhibit responsibility and not become part of the supposed propaganda, adding that the matter was not covered by freedom of expression.
Responding to other criticism from the PTI that Gill was not being allowed to meet his relatives, the information minister questioned if such courtesy was also extended to other prisoners and said the PTI should have passed the relevant legislation for it during its government.
Aurangzeb also said that if Gill was indeed sexually abused then it would have shown up in his medical report.
Earlier in the day, the Islamabad police refuted PTI’s claims that Gill was physically and sexually assaulted, elaborating that a preliminary report on torture was being prepared after the investigation. “If any person has any evidence, they can provide it to the Islamabad police,” it tweeted.
The statement said that some people were running a “fake campaign” against the police and requested the masses to not become a part of it without verifying the news. “Action will be taken against those defaming the police as an institution,” it added.