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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday condemned the arrest of party senator Azam Swati for the second time, allegedly for using foul language against the top military leadership.

Swati was taken into custody for the second time early Sunday morning after a raid at his farmhouse by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing Islamabad team for allegedly tweeting against senior military officials. PTI Chairman Imran took to the Twitter to express his anger over the arrest of the party senator.

“I am shocked & appalled at how rapidly we are descending into not just a ‘banana republic but a fascist state’. How can anyone not understand the pain & suffering Senator Swati underwent with custodial torture & blackmailing video of him & his conservative wife sent to his family,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, the former prime minister stated: “His (Swati) justifiable anger & frustration at the injustice meted out to him especially the doors of SC remaining closed to him despite over a fortnight of appeals by Senators in support of him. So he tweets & is arrested again. Everyone must raise their voice against this ‘state fascism’.”

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi also expressed his concern over the arrest, saying that he absolutely condemned the re-arrest of Swati.

“Absolutely condemn the re-arrest of Senator Azam Swati. Is this way Pakistan’s citizens will be treated for demanding fundamental democratic rights? Was custodial torture, blackmail and a complete denial of his right to dignity not sufficient for this ‘fascist’ govt?” Qureshi said.

PTI General Secretary Asad Umar also tweeted about the incident and praised the “dignified manner” in which Azam Swati conducted himself as he was arrested Sunday.

“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 do so within ambit of law,” he tweeted. The former human rights minister and senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari maintained that Swati had only “asked some questions and spoke about what happened to him and his family”.

“Senator Azam Swati arrested again by FIA after he spoke at our Azadi March where he asked some questions & spoke abt what happened to him & his family. Is that a crime? Did the ‘pussilanimous’ Senate Chairman again give his approval for this arrest? Fascism,” she tweeted.

In another tweet, she stated: “ [It] Seems freedom of speech in Pakistan today is reserved for the powerful State be it in a press conference, a public address, a press statement or on social media. For the rest, including parliamentarians, this right is denied.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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