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Thursday July 25, 2024

Sedition case: Islamabad court sends Fawad Chaudhry on judicial remand

Could only sleep for just two and a half hours in six days, PTI leader says

By Arfa Feroz Zake
January 30, 2023
Police officials escort the former information minister Fawad Chaudhry to leave after hearing in a district and session court in Islamabad on January 25, 2023. — Online
Police officials escort the former information minister Fawad Chaudhry to leave after hearing in a district and session court in Islamabad on January 25, 2023. — Online 

ISLAMABAD: Following the completion of his two-day physical remand in a sedition case filed against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry, the former information minister was sent on a judicial remand to Adiala Jail on Monday.

Earlier today, the former information minister was moved back to the federal capital after his photogrammetry test was conducted at a forensic lab in Lahore. 

Fawad — 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 Wednesday after a case was registered against him at Islamabad's Kohsar Police Station.

On Saturday, the judicial magistrate granted the police two-day remand and directed the authorities to produce Fawad before the court after the expiry of the remand.

The police sought further custody pleading they were not given enough time to probe Fawad and carry out a photogrammetry test. The PTI leader was taken to his Lahore residence on Sunday for the recovery of communication devices.

Today's hearing

The PTI leader was produced before Judicial Magistrate Waqas Ahmed Raja's court today after the expiry of his two-day physical remand.

He was supposed to be produced before the court today at 11:30am but despite the judge's directive to the prosecution team, the PTI leader couldn't be presented in the court till 3:30pm.

However, when Fawad finally appeared before the court, the police again prayed to the judge to extend the PTI leader's physical remand.

The prosecutor said that a photogrammetric test has been done but they want to recover Fawad's mobile, laptop, and other devices.

At the judge's query, the official said "the photogrammetric test is conducted to confirm the identity of a person with voice and photo matching".

Meanwhile, the counsel for the ECP didn't press for further remand. "We only wanted the photogrammetric test, which has been done," the ECP lawyer said.

In response, Fawad's counsel Babar Awan said his client had admitted to passing these comments and he was standing by his statement.

"Don't know who the prosecution wants to please. They have made the case a joke. Which laptop do they want to recover?"

Babar Awan requested the judge to not let them [police] abuse him [Fawad].

“Did they cover your face with a cloth today?” the judge asked Fawad. The PTI leader said, "no they did not".

“I have not slept for more than two and a half hours in six days, he told the court, adding “I was made to ride in the cargo bed of the police pickup truck in the cold.” 

The FIR

An FIR (No 69/23) was registered against the PTI leader under sections 153-A, 506, 505 and 124-A of PPC on the complaint of Secretary ECP Omar Hamid Khan, saying the accused used threatening language against the commission and its members.

Speaking to the media and people, the accused threatened the ECP members and their families, the FIR stated.

The FIR indicates that Fawad said the status of the ECP had been reduced to that of a ‘Munshi’ ( a clerk or a personal assistant).

The FIR, quoting Fawad, said those who become part of the caretaker government would be pursued until they were punished. He also said the people sitting in the government would be chased to their homes.