Court hands Azam Swati back to FIA for one day

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An Islamabad district and sessions court on Saturday granted the Federal Investigation Agency physical remand of PTI Senator Azam Swati for another day in a case pertaining to a tweet against state institutions, including the army chief.

Earlier in the day, the former minister was taken to the PIMS Hospital for a medical examination after which he was presented before the court amid tight security.

On Thursday, the court had remanded the PTI leader into FIA custody for two days after Swati named Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in his tweet denouncing the acquittals of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son in a multi-billion-rupee money laundering case, registered against them during the PTI rule.

At the outset of the hearing Saturday, the court of Senior Civil Judge Muhammad Shabbir was told that the federal government had appointed Raja Rizwan Abbasi as the prosecutor in the case. PTI lawyer Babar Awan said that he would present arguments on the sections included in the complaint lodged against Swati. The FIA then submitted Swati’s case file in court. “The suspect tweeted from his verified account,” the agency’s prosecutor said, elaborating that the complaint was lodged under sections of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016. Abbasi went on to say that the “choice of words” in Swati’s tweet was wrong. “He has been constantly running a campaign,” he said, subsequently requesting the court to extend the PTI leader’s remand for eight days.

Here, Judge Shabbir asked: “I have read the file. What did the FIA do in the two-day remand?” To this, the prosecutor said that the senator’s phone — through which the tweet was posted — and other devices were yet to be seized. “We have to trace [the person] who is behind the suspect and tweets against the army,” Abbasi said, requesting the court to accept the FIA’s plea.

 

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