The Special Judge Central — FIA’s special court — in Islamabad issued perpetual arrest warrants on Wednesday for PTI leader Azam Khan Swati over his controversial posts on social media platform X (then known as Twitter) about senior military officers including the then-army chief in October last year.
His arrest on November 27, 2022, and subsequent detention stretched for over a month. He was released from an Islamabad sub-jail in January this year after he secured post-arrest bail from the Islamabad High Court. In his petition for bail, he had denied making the offending posts.
There were three previous hearings of this case, in April, May and June, all of which Swati skipped. In the May hearing, non-bailable arrest warrants were issued against him, and in the June hearing, he was declared a proclaimed offender.
Today, Special Judge Central Shahrukh Arjumand issued a perpetual arrest warrant for the PTI leader over Swati’s repeated failure to attend hearings.
Judge Arjumand ordered the FIA to arrest him on sight and present him before the court.
It should be noted that Swati was implicated in the May 9 violence in the law enforcement crackdown against the party and was among the party leaders declared proclaimed offenders.
Arrests over posts
Swati was first arrested by the FIA on charges of posting controversial posts about the armed forces in October and was later released on bail.
The senator had alleged that he was tortured in custody and demanded the removal of two military officials, one of whom he used foul language against in his tweet on November 26.
On November 27, the FIA arrested Swati for the second time over a “highly obnoxious campaign of intimidating tweets […] against state institutions”.
The arrest came after an FIR was registered by the FIA on the complaint of the state through Islamabad Cyber Crime Reporting Centre Technical Assistant Aneesur Rehman.
The complaint was registered under Section 20 of Peca as well as Sections 131 (abetting mutiny or attempting to seduce a soldier from his duty), 500 (punishment for defamation), 501 (defamation and printing of content deemed defamatory), Section 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) and 109 (abetment) of the PPC.
Following his arrest in November, the Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority prohibited Swati’s media coverage on all satellite TV channels.