An Islamabad court on Thursday remanded PTI Senator Azam Swati in judicial custody for 14 days till December 15.
Earlier this week, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had arrested Swati — the second time in less than two months — over a “highly obnoxious campaign of intimidating tweets […] against state institutions”.
Separate FIRs were registered against the PTI leader in Balochistan and Sindh as well for using “derogatory language” and “provoking the people against the army”. Following the arrest, the Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (Pemra) prohibited media coverage of Swati on all satellite TV channels.
Previously, the court had extended the PTI senator’s physical remand for four days till Dec 3.
However, the FIA on Thursday requested Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Bashir to send Swati to jail, saying that the agency had completed its investigation.
“There is no need for further investigation,” the investigating officer said.
Subsequently, the judge accepted the FIA’s plea and sent Swati to jail on 14-day judicial remand. He further directed police to present Swati in court on Dec 15.
PTI petitions SC to take suo motu notice of Swati’s arrest
PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid petitioned the Supreme Court on Thursday to take suo motu notice regarding the “political victimisation” of PTI Senator Azam Swati through “politically motivated cases and lodging of series of FIRs (first information reports)”.
The petition, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, asked for immediate notice to be taken on the “illegal arrest” of Swati and the “violation of privacy of [his] home”.
The leader lamented in the petition that Swati was taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) again on Nov 27 with “a series of FIRs” registered against him, which the petition declared to be against the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Sughran Bibi case of 2018.
Citing Article 14 of the Constitution (inviolability of dignity of man), the petition questioned its applicability — a question raised by party chief Imran Khan earlier.
It claimed that the senator was tortured in front of his wife and kids, as well as during the custody of the FIA at the hands of the persons named by him in his press conferences.
The petition warned that there is “grave and imminent danger to Swati’s life and also asked for “adequate arrangement for his safety”.
Citing the cases of news anchors Hamid Mir and Dr Shahid Masood, it argued that freedom of speech had been expanded for these cases but the concerned Article 19 was made the reason to arrest Swati.
It further complained about the illegal video recording of Swati with his wife that had “stripped everyone of their robes”.
The petition called for an investigation of all the incidents — beginning from his first arrest to the second — and that those responsible, including the staff of FIA, be “affixed with responsibility”.
‘Our privacy is at risk’
While talking to the media outside the SC’s Lahore registry, Rashid reiterated the claims of the alleged custodial torture of Swati and the offensive video leak, “which made all the women hang their heads down with shame”.
She said the “imported government should be ashamed; our privacy is at risk.”
Addressing Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, she said, “We have all the records of how you thrashed women.” Rashid also stated that there was “no person worse than Maulana Fazlur Rehman” and that the party would make sure to get him punished.
Recalling the police action during the PTI’s long march on May 25, she sarcastically said that when Imran says to dissolve assemblies, the government refuses.
“I hope that the chief justice will take suo motu action,” she added.
Rashid along with other women workers protested at GPO Chowk in Lahore in solidarity with Swati and his family and against the “humiliation of women”.