Swati seeks transfer of cases to Islamabad

By Our Correspondent
December 02, 2022

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: Senator Azam Swati on Thursday requested the Supreme Court to consolidate cases registered against him and transfer them from Sindh and Balochistan to Islamabad.

Swati filed a petition with the apex court through his counsel Babar Awan under Article 184(3) read with 186-A of the Constitution, making the Federation of Pakistan, secretary Ministry of Interior, DG FIA, Islamabad, inspector general of police, Sindh, and inspector general of police, Balochistan, respondents. He submitted that he was arrested in FIR No159 dated 13-10-2022 and registered under Section 20 PECA, 2016 r/w 131, 500, 501, 505 and 109 of the PPC at the Police Station Cyber-Crime Reporting Centre, Islamabad. He remained on physical remand and during the course was subjected to ultimate humiliation and custodial torture.

“Eventually, I was released by the court of Raja Asif Mehmood, special judge central/judge Prevention of Electronic Crime, Islamabad, vide its order dated 21-10- 2022,” he said and informed the court that at present, he was under arrest on the basis of another false case registered by the Police Station Cyber-Crime Reporting Centre, Islamabad, i.e. FIR No 185 dated 26-11-2022 under Section 20 of PECA, 2016 r/w 131, 500, 501, 505 and 109 PPC.

Swati submitted that as he was subjected to persecution by the regime, there was a spree of false cases being registered in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, which were under the rule of governments hostile to him and his party. He said he had invoked the constitutional jurisdiction of this court on the question of larger public importance and sought the remedy of transferring all the FIRs to one place to enable him to effectively defend himself. He said the power was vested in this court in terms of Article 186-A of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973.

“That actions of the respondents are in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioner, guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973,” he contended and added that inquiry proceedings in the above-mentioned cybercrime cases were camouflaged without hearing him, which was against the principles of law and this demeanour spoke volumes for their conduct. “These actions of the respondents are not only a colorable exercise of powers but also the worst example of discrimination,” he submitted and prayed to the court to consolidate all the cases.

After hearing arguments from the FIA and Swati’s lawyers, the judge approved two-day physical remand of the PTI leader. On November 29, the court extended the physical remand of Swati for an additional four days at the request of the FIA. The FIA, however, filed an application in the court seeking an end to the PTI leader’s physical remand. The FIA apprised the court that it had completed its investigations, adding that there was no need for further investigation from the PTI leader.

The FIA pleaded with the court to send the PTI leader on judicial remand, which the court approved.

On the other hand, PTI leader Yasmin Rashid filed a petition at the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry against Swati’s arrest, terming it “illegal”.

Rashid claimed in her petition that the senator was arrested on political grounds. “Action should be taken against those responsible for Azam Swati’s arrest,” read the petition.

It added that his family was mistreated and a notice should be taken against this act. It also asked to ensure the sanctity of the house.

The PTI leader also said that women will protest against Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah’s treatment towards them. “We are hopeful that the chief justice would give us justice,” she said, adding that she will also file a plea against JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

A local court in Islamabad sent PTI Senior Vice President Azam Swati to Adiala Jail on a 14-day judicial remand in a case relating to controversial tweets against senior military officials two days prior to the expiry of his physical remand.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) apprehended Swati on Sunday for the second time in the controversial tweet case. The PTI senator was arraigned before Magistrate Waqas Ahmed Raja on the same day.