ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Khan Swati on Thursday approached the Supreme Court to seek tra­nsfer and consolidation of all the cases registered against him across the country to Islam­abad, while a judicial magistrate rem­anded him in judicial custody for 14 days.

Filed through advocate Babar Awan, Mr Swati also requested the court to order suspension of the first information report (FIR) registered against him until the pendency of the present petition.

The federal government through the interior secretary, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general (headquarters), the police chiefs of Sindh and Balochistan have been named as respondents in the petition.

On the other hand, Punjab Health Minister and PTI Central Punjab President Dr Yasmin Rashid, leading several women members of the party, filed an application with the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry, requesting the chief justice of Pakistan to take a suo motu notice of the ‘oppression’ on Azam Swati.

PTI senator remanded in judicial custody for 14 days

Senator Swati was arrested from the capital on Nov 27 for the second time in six weeks in connection with cases registered against him over his allegedly derogatory tweet against the senior military leadership. The cybercrime wing of the FIA arrested him and registered an FIR under Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and sections 109 (abetment), 131 (mutiny), 500 (defamation) and 505 (conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code for his fiery speech at a PTI rally in Rawalpindi where he had lashed out at the senior military leadership.

The duty magistrate had remanded his custody to the investigation agency initially for two days.

The petition filed in the Supreme Court called Azam Swati’s arrest by the FIA a “colourable exercise of powers” as well as the “worst example” of discrimination. It contended that the petitioner was currently under arrest on the basis of another false case registered by the Cyber Crime Reporting Centre police station, Islamabad.

The inquiry proceedings against him were discriminatory since the petitioner was never given an opportunity of hearing, which violated the principles of law, the petition contended. Moreover, the government’s action was also against the fundamental rights guaranteed to the petitioner by the Constitution, the petition argued, adding that Mr Swati was invoking the jurisdiction of the apex court since the issue was of larger public importance.

He was seeking a remedy from the apex court to enable him to effectively defend himself, the petition pleaded. It recalled how earlier also Mr Swati had been arrested in October and kept in physical remand during which he was allegedly subjected to ultimate humiliation and custodial torture. Eventually the petitioner was released by a court order.

Meanwhile, Judicial Magistrate Shabbir Bhatti on Thursday sent Senator Swati on a 14-day judicial remand on the request of the FIA. The PTI leader was presented to the court through a video link.

Azam Swati’s judicial remand was granted after the FIA had on Wednesday requested the judicial magistrate that the physical remand was no more wanted despite the fact that the magistrate had granted four-day physical remand, which was to expire on Dec 3.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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