Monday March 20, 2023

Opposition protests Swati’s arrest, ‘maltreatment’ in Senate today

PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati is facing charges of libel for using foul language against military officers in his tweets

December 12, 2022
PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati. — APP
PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati. — APP

ISLAMABAD: The opposition in Senate will agitate the arrest and alleged maltreatment of senator Azam Khan Swati besides discussing the country’s economic situation in the House when it will commence proceedings for its 322nd session today (Monday) evening.

The opposition parliamentary group, under leader of the opposition Senator Dr Shahzad Waseem, will evolve its strategy in this regard in its closed-door parliamentary party session before the start of the sitting in the Committee Room No 2.

Interestingly, the National Assembly’s sitting will also start the same evening but no subject pertaining to any agitation has become part of the agenda issued a day earlier.

Well-placed sources told The News that leader of the opposition will obtain instructions from the PTI leadership for the methodology of protest on the subjects just before the start of the parliamentary party meeting.

The sources pointed out that the opposition members would approach Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani regarding the question and will impress upon him to issue production orders for Azam Swati who was arrested in Islamabad and taken to Balochistan after he was granted bail here. The Balochistan High Court ordered for quashing cases against him and as soon he was released by the Balochistan authorities, Swati was nabbed by the Sindh Police which took him to its province. Since then, he is locked up there under physical remand granted by the lower court. Senator Azam Swati has been implicated in cases registered in various parts of the country for foul mouthing senior officials and for his tweets. He was also arrested earlier under similar charges but then acted again recklessly. He accused the federal agency of maltreatment during detention but this time he didn’t complain of any such harsh treatment.

The Senate session could be a stormy affair. In the meanwhile, PTI Senator Dr. Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur has submitted a motion and asked for discussion on the deteriorating situation of Pakistan’s economy in the light of the World Bank’s October 2022-Pakistan Development Update according to which the country’s GDP is expected to grow by only 2 percent in the current fiscal year ending June 2023.

It is likely Federal Finance and Revenue Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, who is also the leader of the House in Senate, would respond on the motion. The sources pointed out that political situation in the country could come up for discussion in the National Assembly that would be chaired by Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf. The discussion on economy with this reference couldn’t be ruled out, the sources added.

Highly-placed sources indicated that the indiscriminate firing by the Afghan border forces across the Chaman border on Sunday that martyred six innocent civilians and injured as many seventeen would come up for discussion in both houses of the parliament since the members view the inexcusable act of aggression as an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty. A resolution for condemnation of the act of aggression would be adopted by the both houses after thorough discussion on the issue, the sources added.