ISLAMABAD: A senior civil judge of Islamabad on Tuesday extended for four days the physical remand of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Sena­tor Azam Khan Swati as the Islamabad High Court (IHC) sought assistance from the Attorney General’s office on a petition against his possible shifting to other provinces.

The Cyber Crimes Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Senator Swati in Islamabad in a case registered under Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) and Section 109 (abetment), 131 (mutiny), 500 (defamation) and 505 (conducing to public mischief) of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The duty magistrate on Sunday granted his two days’ physical remand to the FIA.

The prosecutor on Tuesday informed the senior civil judge, Mohammad Shabbir, that the investigation team required Mr Swati’s custody to probe him in connection with his Twitter account and cellphone. He requested the court to extend the physical remand for six days.

Babar Awan seeks senator’s exemption from personal appearance in court

Senator Swati’s counsel Babar Awan, on the other hand, filed an application seeking exemption of the PTI senator from personal appearance before the court on the ground of security concerns. He suggested that the court should procure Mr Swati’s attendance through a video link.

As the prosecutor did not object to the request of the PTI counsel, the judge extended Senator Swati’s remand till Dec 3.

In a related development, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq asked the deputy attorney general to get instructions from the interior ministry on Mr Swati’s petition seeking details of the cases registered against him in connection with his alleged derogatory tweet against the military leadership.

He was hearing a petition against the possible shifting of Senator Swati outside the jurisdiction of Islamabad.

His counsel Babar Awan requested the court to issue direction to rele-vant authorities not to hand over

the PTI Senator to Sindh or Balochistan police.

He also requested the court to seek details of the FIRs registered against Mr Swati across the country over his alleged obnoxious tweets against senior military officers.

Justice Farooq asked from the counsel as to whether the interior secretary had any control over the provincial police.

The IHC chief justice inquired from Mr Awan about legal provisions under which a high court could issue the said directions.

Mr Awan referred to Article 10-A of the Constitution and said that registration of multiple FIRs prejudiced his right to a fair trial.

The FIA on Sunday arrested Mr Swati second time in six weeks after his speech at the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) long march in Rawalpindi in which he lashed out at the senior military leadership, and the duty magistrate remanded his custody to the investigation agency for two days.

The PTI counsel told the court that Senator Swati had reliable information of his custodial killing.

He said that multiple FIRs had been registered against Mr Swati in Sindh and Balochistan and requested the court to restrain his handing over to respective police.

Further hearing of the petition was adjourned till Dec 2.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2022

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