A district court in Lahore on Saturday rejected the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) request for another extension in the physical remand of PTI MPA Nazir Chohan, who was arrested earlier this week in connection with a complaint registered by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar.
Chohan was presented in the district court of Judicial Magistrate Yousuf Abdul Rehman today after the completion of his two-day physical remand.
The counsel for the FIA told the court that Chohan was "not cooperating", adding that the MPA's Facebook account was checked and videos were found, for which voice sampling needed to be done.
Data from Chohan's devices as well as his WhatsApp number needed to be recovered, the counsel said. "The suspect has an iPhone and everything is in its iCloud. If nothing is done, it will benefit the suspect."
The counsel complained that the FIA asked Chohan for his phone but the MPA was "making a variety of excuses".
On the other hand, Chohan's counsel, Shafqat Chohan, told the court that the MPA had never used an iPhone.
"[I] don't know where the FIA gets information from. When an iPhone has not been used, how will recovery be done?" he questioned. "If material was not shared on the internet, then there is no case."
The counsel alleged that the FIA was "playing with the system".
After hearing the arguments, the court rejected the investigation agency's application for extension in Chohan's physical remand. However, it remanded the MPA in judicial custody for two weeks, directing the FIA to submit a report regarding the investigation at the next date of hearing.
Chohan was arrested in Lahore by the FIA on Wednesday — his second arrest in as many days. A day earlier, he was taken in custody by Lahore police in a separate case filed by Akbar, although he was later released on bail the same day.
PM aide's complaint
Akbar had registered a case against Chohan on July 8 under Sections 11 (hate speech) and 20 (offences against the dignity of a natural person) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and read with Sections 298 (uttering words to wound religious feelings), 500 (punishment for defamation), 505(c) (intention to incite), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 29 of the Telegraph Act.
According to the first information report, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the accountability czar had accused Chohan of making allegations concerning the former's religious beliefs on social media, adding that these statements had put his life at risk.
"The complainant is aggrieved of a systematic and organised hate campaign which has been launched against him by Nazir Chohan and others at his behest on social media and WhatsApp chats," the FIR reads.
It quoted Akbar as saying that "miscreants on behalf of vested interests" were involved in an effort to "discourage and blackmail" him into dereliction of his official duties.
The FIR added that "the motive behind this malicious, hateful and defamatory social media campaign is to discourage the complainant from the proactive role that the complainant is playing in curbing corruption and ensuring accountability in Pakistan."
Chohan, meanwhile, had refused to back down from his stance while being transferred to the FIA's office on Wednesday and said he would present his complaint to the prime minister. "I will ask the prime minister that you have to make Shahzad Akbar understand. I am a winning MPA of Lahore," he had said.