Saturday December 09, 2023

FIA arrests Swati for vilifying top army officials

By News Desk & Shakeel Anjum
November 28, 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

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati in the early hours of Sunday for targeting the top military officers.

Earlier, he was rounded up by the FIA on Oct 13, 2022 (FIR No185/2022 under Section 20 of PECA 2016).

The senator has been handed over to the investigation agency on a two-day physical remand by the court.

Swati has been arrested under a new FIR registered with the Cyber Crime Circle, Islamabad, for his seven humiliating tweets against the top military officers, the FIA sources said. He was released on bail by the court. After his bail, the senator claimed that he was tortured in custody and demanded removal of two military officials.

Swati used extreme words against one of the military officers, sources said, adding that an FIR was registered by the FIA on the complaint of the state through the Islamabad Cyber Crime Reporting Centre (CCRC). The second FIR against Swati was registered on the complaint of Technical Assistant Anis-ur-Rehman under Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) 2016 read with 131/ 500/ 501/ 505 and 109 PPC by the CCRC of FIA.

Swati and three others initiated a malicious campaign against the top military officers with bad intentions and clandestine causes and started highly loathsome crusade of intimidating tweets against the state institutions and senior government functionaries, the FIA sources maintained.

They said on Nov 26, Swati shared a tweet stating that he would go after a senior military official at every forum. The FIR said through the offensive tweets as well as the comments on instigating tweets, the accused attempted to seduce the army personnel from their allegiance to their duty as subordinates adding that this was a “calculated and repeated attempt” by Swati. The FIR noted that a similar complaint had been filed against the senator in the past, adding that Swati attempted to provoke the general public and personnel of the armed forces by trying to create a feeling of hostility among the pillars of the state.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Sunday reacted strongly to Senator Azam Swati’s arrest over his statement against a state institution. Swati was taken into custody from his Chak Shahzad farmhouse by a three-member FIA Cyber Crime Wing’s team hours after the PTI staged a power show at Rehmanabad.

In his address to the public meeting, Swati had talked about the ordeal he faced during his arrest last month.

Taking to Twitter, Imran Khan wrote: “I am shocked & appalled at how rapidly we are descending into not just a banana republic but a fascist state. How can anyone not understand the pain & suffering Senator Swati underwent with custodial torture & blackmailing video of him & his conservative wife sent to his family?

“His justifiable anger and frustration at the injustice meted out to him, especially the doors of SC [Supreme Court] remaining closed to him despite over a fortnight of appeals by senators in support of him. So he tweets & is arrested again.”

Imran urged people to raise their voice against this ‘state fascism’, local media reported.

PTI leader Shireen Mazari also termed the incident an act of “fascism”, stating that Swati was arrested by FIA after he spoke at the Azadi March in Rawalpindi on Saturday.

“Senator Azam Swati arrested again by FIA after he spoke at our Azadi March where he asked some questions & spoke abt what happened to him & his family. Is that a crime? Did the pusillanimous Senate chairman again give his approval for this arrest? Fascism,” the tweet read.

Reacting to the arrest, Asad Umar said, “The dignified manner in which Azam Swati conducted himself as he was arrested today shows he is fighting for a principle.” “You can disagree with his choice of words or even his views, but you cannot disagree with him that whatever happens must do so within ambit of law,” the former planning minister said.

Last month, Swati was arrested by the FIA after he launched a barrage of controversial tweets against the head of a state institution and used foul language. Later, he secured post-arrest bail from a court in the capital city.