Quetta court approves Azam Swati's five-day physical remand

Senator Azam Khan Swati was shifted to Quetta after his arrest by Balochistan police in controversial tweets case

Salman Ashraf

  • Qasim Khan Suri confirms that Swati sent into police custody for physical remand.
  • Condemns police action against "elderly leader in extremely cold weather".
  • Says he thinks "it is not good to use Balochistan in such activities".

QUETTA: A Quetta court on Sunday handed over Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Khan Swati to police for a five-day physical remand in the case registered against him for tweeting against senior military officers.

The PTI leader is facing charges of libel for using foul language against military officers in his tweets. Initially the senator was arrested by the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA).

But on December 2, Balochistan police arrested Swati for a similar case registered against him in Quetta.

At the time of his arrest, he was already on judicial remand in Adiala Jail, following his detention for a second time in a controversial tweets case on November 27. He was then shifted to Quetta under a transit remand acquired by the Balochistan police

Today's hearing

Swati was presented before Judicial Magistrate Abdul Sattar under strict security on Sunday morning.

The police had requested a 10-day physical remand but the court only approved it for five days.

Later, PTI Balochistan President and former National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri confirmed that Swati was sent into police custody for a five-day physical remand. 

Speaking to the media after the hearing, Suri condemned the police action against the "elderly leader in extremely cold weather".

"Is Azam Swati a foreign spy? What has he done. I think it is not good to use Balochistan in such activities," he said.

Suri further claimed that there is "no worse example" for the restriction on freedom of expression than this.

He said that only the case for attack on PTI Chairman Imran Khan is not being registered, but the rest of party leadership is facing cases. 

Controversial tweets cases 

Swati is booked in multiple cases across the country — as stated by his lawyer during a hearing in an Islamabad court — for his controversial tweets. 

He was first arrested in a controversial tweets case on October 14, after he posted a highly-hateful and threatening message against the army chief, judiciary and other state institutions, on his official Twitter account. 

The senator had secured bail in that case.

But on November 27, FIA once again arrested Swati for using abusive language against the top military brass including the former army chief. 

PTI has been condemning his arrest and "torture" under custody, while Swati also approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC), fearing "custodial killing".

His latest arrest by Balochistan police was condemned by former prime minister Khan. He claimed that despite "severe chest pain and breathing issues" Swati was taken away from the hospital by Quetta police and moved to an unknown location, “endangering his life”.