A departmental proceeding has been initiated to probe the role of the police team in black uniform and the official in charge for their alleged negligence during the arrest of PTI leader Shahbaz Gill, “resulting in escape of his driver along with vital evidence.”

Officials in the Islamabad police said the proceeding was initiated after the quarters concerned scolded the police chief and other officers over their failure to take custody of Gill’s mobile phone, his vehicle and driver during his arrest, as the driver and the mobile phone went out of the reach of investigators, hampering access to ‘concrete evidences’.

The police arrested Imran Khan’s chief of staff on August 9 after chalking out a proper plan and tracing his location, the officials said. The task was given to the department having black uniform under SSP’s supervision along with a police team of operations division. The teams intercepted Gill at Banigala Chowk but failed to take him into custody immediately as he locked himself in his vehicle and posted videos on social media bringing embarrassment to the police, the officials explained.

Later, the SP (operations) reached there and arrested him. However, the police teams were confused about his vehicle. Despite a clear direction and an SOP to bring Mr Gill along with his belongings and associate to the designated place, all the belongings were left there, and Gill was transported in a private vehicle, they said. Due to this ‘negligence and carelessness’ the PTI leader was able to hand over his mobile phone to his driver, they added.

The driver reached Imran Khan’s residence before moving to his in-laws’ house from where he escaped on Aug 11. When the police conducted a raid, his whereabouts were traced to Peshawar, the officials said.

“Presently, Peshawar is beyond our reach and assistance from KP police is out of question,” the officials said. Any attempt to arrest the driver in KP might result in physical confrontation or other mishap.

The last location of Mr Gill’s mobile phone was traced to the Banigala area and it remained in use of ‘someone’ till Aug 12, the officers said, adding since then it seemed to have been switched off and ‘untraceable’.

The investigators identified some other devices being used by Mr Gill and were trying to trace them, they said, adding the investigators had also traced a house in Banigala from where Gill went on air. However, the mobile phone was not used in the beeper, apparently to avoid tracing of the location.

Some calls were made, and messages were sent from the house and received through different numbers before Gill’s appearance in the bulletin, the officers said. Investigators also found and recovered the ‘script’ read out by Gill for the news channel from the house in Gulberg Greens.

On allegation of torture during interrogation, the officials said that police did not even touch Mr Gill for interrogation.

Video of the bulletin sent to the FIA for voice matching along with samples of Gill’s voice were matched, they said.

Meanwhile, the police discharged the brother-in-law of Gill’s driver in a case registered against him and others at the Aabpara police station on August 11, while challan has been submitted against the driver’s wife for trial, they said.

They said Gill was in court custody and hospitalised on court’s directives till Monday and he would again be produced in the court for legal procedure.

STATEMENTS RECORDED: Meanwhile, a committee under the supervision of DIG (headquarters) recorded Gill’s statements at the hospital.

PTI leaders Ali Awan, Khurram Nawaz, Imran Khan’s nephew Hassan Niazi and Fawad Chaudhry also came to record their statements. In evidence, they produced video clipping of some news channels’ talk shows, the officers said. Some media persons were also asked to appear before the committee, but they did not come.

When contacted by Dawn for comment on several matters such as the action initiated against the SSP counterterrorism department of police and other officials over their alleged negligence, possibility of arrest of other politicians and some media persons who were in contact with Mr Gill on the day the bulletin was aired and his remand, the public relations officer for the Islamabad police replied: “These are matters related to ongoing investigations and will be addressed during the course of investigation appropriately. All members of ICT Police are doing their job diligently.”

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