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Wednesday February 01, 2023

Court sends Swati on physical remand in controversial tweets case

PTI Senator was arrested for second time this morning in new controversial tweets case

By Web Desk
November 27, 2022
PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati speaks in a video before his arrest this morning. — Twitter video screengrab
PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati speaks in a video before his arrest this morning. — Twitter video screengrab

PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati was sent to physical remand in another case regarding controversial tweets after being arrested early Sunday morning.

Swati was detained by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for the second time this morning after a new case was registered against him for making controversial tweets against senior military officers.

Magistrate Waqas Ahmed Raja announced the verdict he had reserved after hearing arguments from the FIA and Swati’s lawyers. The FIA had requested Swati’s physical remand for eight days.

Earlier today, the PTI leader was taken into custody from his farmhouse located in Chak Shahzad, Islamabad.

According to sources, the Cybercrime Wing of the FIA arrested Azam Swati for penning controversial tweets and criticising a state institution and using foul language against high officials of the Pakistan Army.

Following his tweets, an FIR was filed against him, said sources.

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.

Swati presented before court

Following his arrest, the Senator was presented before Magistrate Waqas Ahmed Raja. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Babar Awan, Shehzad Wasim and Imran Ismail were also present on the occasion.

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.

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.

Imran Khan 'shocked' over Swati's 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 lawmakers 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.

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

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, and Jacobabad.

As many as four 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.

Another FIR was registered against the senior PTI leader at the Saddar Police Station in Jacobabad.

PEMRA bars channels of airing Swati's speeches

The Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (PEMRA) barred television channels from airing any of Swati’s speeches, press conference or invite 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 licenses of those channels will be revoked without any showcause notice.

FIA informs Senate chairman of arrest

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

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

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