- Local court grants FIA two-day physical remand of the accused
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Azam Khan Swati was arrested on Sunday morning by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) over a case related to a controversial tweet against senior military officials, Aaj News reported.
This is the second time in less than two months that Swati was arrested for posting comments against state institutions on social media.
A first information (FIR) report was registered by the FIA on the complaint of the state through Islamabad Cyber Crime Reporting Centre (CCRC) Technical Assistant Aneesur Rehman.
Following the arrest, a local court in Islamabad granted the FIA a two-day physical remand of Swati in the case.
Condemning the arrest, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said he was “shocked and appalled at how rapidly we are descending into not just a banana republic but a fascist state”.
“How can anyone not understand the pain and suffering Senator Swati underwent with custodial torture, and blackmailing video of him and his conservative wife sent to his family?” he asked.
“His justifiable anger and frustration at the injustice meted out to him, especially the doors of the Supreme Court remaining closed to him despite over a fortnight of appeals by senators in support of him. So he tweets and is arrested again. Everyone must raise their voice against this state fascism,” Imran said.
PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said the "dignified manner in which Azam Swati conducted himself as he was arrested today shows he is fighting for a principle"
“You can disagree with his choice of words or even his views, but you cannot disagree with him that whatever happens must [happen] within [the] ambit of [the] law,” he said.
Former human rights minister and senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari said Senator Azam Swati was arrested again by FIA after he spoke at our Azadi March where he asked some questions and spoke about what happened to him and his family.
"Is that a crime? Did the pusillanimous Senate Chairman again give his approval for this arrest? Fascism."
In October, Swati was arrested for posting tweets against state institutions. After his arrest, Mazari wrote open letters to the world human rights bodies, demanding his early release.
In an open letter addressed to the Human Rights Committee, Geneva, and the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 34/19), the PTI leader highlighted the arrest and "subsequent torture" on Swati.
“Pakistan has been engulfed in a political crisis in the aftermath of a ‘regime change scheme’ to remove the government of PM Khan and replace it with a combined opposition government with a bloated cabinet comprising primarily of members out on bail,” she wrote.
She further wrote that the government, ‘backed by the Establishment’, has responded with repressive measures, especially in the wake of the PTI sweep of a series of by-elections held on 17 July in the province of Punjab “despite a concerted effort of rigging by the government, the Election Commission of Pakistan and the State.”
In August 2022, former special assistant to the prime minister for political communication Dr Shahbaz Gill was arrested by Islamabad Police outside Banigala Chowk for “making statements against state institutions and inciting the people to rebellion”.
A case was registered against him at the Kohsar Police Station, Islamabad. Besides other charges, clauses relating to inciting people against the state institutions and their heads were added in the FIR, it was reported.
He was released in September after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted him bail.