Wednesday, February 01, 2023
ISLAMABAD: An additional sessions court in Islamabad on Wednesday approved the bail of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry in a sedition case.
The former minister — who is facing sedition charges for publicly “threatening” the members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a media talk — was arrested from his Lahore residence on January 25 after a case was registered against him at Islamabad's Kohsar Police Station.
Additional Sessions Judge Faizan Gillani approved the former federal information minister's bail plea. Gillani approved the petition on a conditional basis, saying that Fawad should not make such remarks in the future. The court approved the bail against surety bonds of Rs20,000.
The decision was issued after the former federal information minister was presented before the court following the expiry of his two-day remand.
Hours after the decision, the PTI leader was released from Adiala Jail after due process, with his brother, Faisal Chaudhry, praising the court and media's role.
At the outset of today's hearing, Fawad's lawyer Babar Awan asked the court to approve the bail of his client. "The nation does not believe that such charges should be levelled against someone for speaking two words."
After asking Awan to read out the charges against the PTI leader, the court asked the lawyer what did Fawad mean when he threatened the family members of the ECP officials.
The judge said that Fawad is a senior lawyer and a parliamentarian, in response to which Awan said that in the past, a woman — PTI leader Shireen Mazari — was called "tractor trolley".
The judge then asked again what did Fawad mean when he spoke about the families of ECP members. "Do you (Awan) know what is the literacy rate in Pakistan? When a political leader speaks such words, do you know what it can lead to?"
Judge Gillani then reminded Awan that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had also spoken in a similar tone about his colleague — Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry.
"Yes, I had resolved that issue as well," Awan told the judge.
After Awan's arguments ended, the prosecutor began his arguments and said that the election commission's officials were targetted and called "peons" as he opposed Fawad's bail.
The prosecutor argued that Fawad's statements incited people against the election commission and he also said on live TV that it was "mandatory to revolt" in the country.
He added that the police also have documented evidence against Fawad.
ECP lawyer Saad Hassan said that the PTI leader's photogrammetric and voice match tests were done while he was in custody. In response, the judge said that when Fawad has accepted the statements, then what was the need for these tests?
"Fawad Chaudhry can retract his earlier statement during the trial. We don't need to interrogate his statement further as he has accepted that he made the statement."
The election commission's lawyer added that further investigation can be conducted at any point in the case going forward.
In response, the judge added that Fawad should not have issued such remarks, but approved his bail.