Court approves two-day physical remand of Senator Azam Swati

Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai

Screengrab taken from PTI leader Azam Swatis video recorded during his arrest. — Twitter
Screengrab taken from PTI leader Azam Swati's video recorded during his arrest. — Twitter 

  • Azam Swati taken into custody from his farmhouse in Islamabad.
  • FIA informs Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani of Swati's arrest. 
  • Several FIRs lodged against senior PTI leader across the country.

ISLAMABAD: A court in Islamabad on Sunday approved Senator Azam Swati’s two-day physical remand after he was presented before the magistrate following his arrest today morning for controversial tweets against senior military officers.

Magistrate Waqas Ahmed Raja announced the verdict he had reserved after hearing arguments from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Swati’s lawyers. The FIA had requested Swati’s physical remand for eight days but only two days were granted.

During the hearing, the investigating officer informed the court that the senator was arrested as there were some controversial tweets done by him. He added that the FIA seeks to recover the senator’s Twitter account, mobile and other things.

“Azam Swati is admitting that he did the tweet,” he added.

The senator also told the court that the statement that was given was in front of everyone.

However, Swati’s counsel Babar Awan contended that the tweets that were done do not meet the sections mentioned in the first information report.

After hearing the arguments the magistrate reserved the verdict in the case.

Swati arrested

The PTI leader was arrested once again for speaking against senior military officers early Sunday morning from his farmhouse located in Chak Shahzad, Islamabad.

FIA’s Cybercrime Wing arrested Swati for using foul language for the army chief and other senior military officers.

The case against the senator has been registered on FIA's Technical Assistant Anis ur Rehman's complaint. The case has been registered for libel and the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act.

The senator has been arrested under Sections 500, 501, 505 and 109. He was also arrested under the same provisions the last month.

FIRs lodged against Swati in different cities

Several FIRs have been registered in the last 24 hours against PTI leader Swati for his controversial tweets at different police stations in Karachi, Quetta, Jacobabad and Qambar.

As many as six cases were lodged against the PTI leader at different police stations in Karachi. The FIRs were registered on the behalf of citizens.

“The tweet may spread hatred [against the state institutions],” according to the FIR registered at Darakhshan Police Station.

“Azam Swati’s tweet can create a law and order issue,” said the complainant named Tariq Arain. He maintained that the former minister's tweet "disheartened" him.

In Quetta, a case was registered against the PTI leader at the Kuchlak Police Station. Aziz-ur-Rehman, the complainant, pleaded with the police to take action against Swati for inciting people against the state institutions during his Rawalpindi speech and using foul language about the Army in his tweets.

Two more FIRs were registered against the senior PTI leader at the Saddar Police Station in Jacobabad and Nasirabad tehsil of Qambar.

Apart from these, cases against the senator have also been registered in Lasbela, Larkana, Sukkur, Khairpur, Shikarpur, Kandhkot, and other cities.

FIA informs Senate chairman of arrest

The FIA, in a letter, informed Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani of Swati's arrest earlier in the day. The FIR registered against the senator has also been added to the letter.

"After due process and permission from the authorities, Azam Swati was arrested," FIA says in the letter.

Imran Khan shocked over arrest

"I am shocked and appalled at how rapidly we are descending into not just a banana republic but a fascist state. How can anyone not understand the pain and suffering Senator Swati underwent with custodial torture and blackmailing video of him and his conservative wife sent to his family?" asked PTI Chairman Imran Khan on his party lawmaker’s arrest.

The former prime minister said that Senator Swati's "justifiable anger and frustration at the injustice meted out to him especially the doors of Supreme Court remaining closed to him despite over a fortnight of appeals by senators in support of him".

"So he tweets and is arrested again. Everyone must raise their voice against this state fascism," said the PTI chief.

PEMRA bars channels from airing Swati's speeches

Soon after the arrest, the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (PEMRA) issued directives barring television channels from airing any of Swati’s speeches, press conferences, or inviting him to any programmes.

The regulator in a statement said that the senator made allegations without any proof against institutions during PTI’s rally on November 26.

PEMRA warned television channels that if its orders are not followed then the licenses of those channels will be revoked without any show cause notice.

The tweets

A day earlier, the senator used foul language for the army chief and other senior military officers on Twitter. The tweets were condemned by political and social circles.

Swati hurled cuss words at outgoing Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and used offensive language against Major General Faisal Naseer.

The PTI senator called out the name of Major General Naseer and threatened him that he would have to pay the price.

“I will go against Major General Naseer at every platform. I will use every legal and moral forum against him,” Swati said in a social media post.

The tweets were condemned by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Faisal Karim Kundi.

“The aim of such statements is to please the enemy states,” Kundi said, adding that the PTI leader could only talk on social media.

“If he has any evidence then he should bring it out, and if it holds water then we are standing by him,” said the SAPM.

This is the second time that the PTI leader has been arrested by FIA for his controversial tweets.

Last month, FIA took Swati into custody from his home in Islamabad and presented him before a court.

The senator has been granted bail in the case against surety bonds worth Rs1 million.

The government has moved the Islamabad High Court seeking the cancellation of Swati's bail in the case.