ISLAMABAD: A local court on Wednesday granted post-arrest bail to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry in a case lodged by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for threatening the watchdog’s chief and its members.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Sayyed Faizan Haider allowed the bail against Rs20,000 surety bonds.
The court, however, warned of bail cancellation in case Mr Chaudhry repeated derogatory remarks against the public office holders.
The PTI leader was taken into custody on Jan 25 for allegedly “inciting violence against a constitutional institution” — the ECP.
ECP counsel tells court PTI leader also targeted army, politicians
An FIR was registered against him at Islamabad’s Kohsar police station on a complaint of ECP Secretary Umar Hameed.
According to prosecution, the FIR was registered on the basis of a statement/speech of Fawad Chaudhry, which was aired/telecast on a news channel. He allegedly hurled allegations and threatened the ECP, which constituted offences of sedition, promotion of enmity between different groups, public mischief and criminal intimidation.
Mr Chaudhry’s counsel contended that he was innocent and had no concern whatsoever with the alleged offences in any manner. The lawyer said the complaint about the offence, which took place in Lahore, was lodged in Islamabad.
He further contended that the complainant is an employee of a constitutional body, who has the alternative jurisdiction of taking the cognisance under the Elections Act, 2017, if so aggrieved.
The district public prosecutor and the ECP’s counsel contested the bail petition and asked the court for its dismissal. The ECP counsel said that besides the electoral body, Fawad Chaudhry also targeted the “Pakistan Army and some politicians”.
The court observed “that investigation to the extent of Mr Chaudhry has been completed and he was no more required for such purpose. Hence, his further incarceration for indefinite period would also not avail any useful purpose”.
The judge, however, reminded Mr Chaudhry that “the bail is allowed on the condition that any repetition of threatening and/or derogatory statements against public office holders and their families would amount to misuse of the concession of bail”.
Earlier, during the course of hearing, Fawad Chaudhry’s counsel Babar Awan argued that merely telling someone that one would take action against them did not equate with a threat.
Separately, PTI Chairman Imran Khan sought dismissal of the petition seeking his disqualification for not mentioning his alleged daughter Tyrian Jade White in his nomination papers.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq was scheduled to hear the petition on Thursday.
Mr Khan through his counsel Salman Akram Raja contended that the petition is not maintainable as he is no more a parliamentarian.
The lawyer said the IHC had earlier dismissed a petition seeking Mr Khan’s disqualification for the same reason, adding that Justice Farooq had earlier recused from hearing the previous petition.
Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2023