'I have never disrespected the institutions of the country,' says PTI leader
In a show of absolute defiance after getting bailed out in a sedition case, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry Wednesday said his stance against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was unchanged.
The former minister — who is facing sedition charges for publicly “threatening” the members of the ECP and their families in a media talk — was arrested from his Lahore residence on January 25 after a case was registered against him by ECP's secretary at Islamabad's Kohsar Police Station.
Soon after his release from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on bail, Fawad said “he holds all the institutions in high esteem" but would not eat his words. Fawad further said that his statement was not against the institution, but its functionaries. “Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja should beat the ECP secretary up with a shoe for getting the FIR registered. “I stand by my statement,” the PTI leader reaffirmed.
"I do not call down the institutions of the country. I have never had. If the MNAs (Members of National Assembly) of Jhelum and Mianwali [Fawad Chaudhry and Imran Khan] are traitors, then what's left?" he wondered.
Fawad added that nothing would be "left" in Pakistan's politics if some powers "minus" (subtract) PTI Chairman Imran Khan from the political arena. "If institutions and the people are on the same page, only then can the country prosper."
He said that the country was going through a crisis and it would serve everyone's interests to "plus (add) everyone,” hold elections, and take the country forward.
"Conduct elections and allow the elected people to form the government. There shouldn't be differences between the institutions and political parties," he said.
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 the 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.