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Pakistan

Islamabad court approves Fawad Chaudhry's two-day physical remand

  • Fawad says whatever he says is party's policy, stresses that political statements should not be reason for FIRs
Published January 25, 2023 Updated January 26, 2023
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A district and sessions court in Islamabad on Wednesday approved Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry’s two-day physical remand in a case pertaining to threatening members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and their families, Aaj News reported.

Duty Magistrate Naveed Khan announced the verdict that had been reserved earlier, and adjourned the hearing till January 27 (Friday).

The development comes as the PTI leader was presented before the Islamabad district and sessions court hours after being arrested for “inciting violence against a constitutional institution”.

Fawad, who was information minister under the previous government led by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, was detained in a predawn raid on his home in Lahore.

During the course of the hearing, the ECP counsel argued that the politician had threatened members of the electoral watchdog and their families in his Tuesday’s press talk, demanding an eight-day physical remand to interrogate “Fawad’s motives” behind his statement.

Speaking in the court, Fawad denied the charges, saying whatever he said outside Zaman Park was the party’s policy and not his personal thoughts.

“I am PTI’s spokesperson and I represent the party’s policy,” Fawad said, arguing that if the ECP would start registering FIRs against political statements, then “democracy will die” in the country.

The PTI leader said his party has reservations about ECP’s conduct and it warned the electoral body not to indulge in any unlawful practices, which was not a violation of any law.

He requested the court that his handcuffs should be unlocked as he was no terrorist and certainly was not going to run away from the court.

Proceedings in Lahore

Earlier, Lahore High Court (LCH) Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh scrapped the petition for Fawad’s recovery, stating that his arrest was not “unlawful”. The remarks came after law enforcement agencies (LEAs) also submitted the FIR of the arrest to LHC.

Meanwhile, Inspector General (IG) Punjab Dr Usman Anwar told the high court that Fawad was in the custody of Islamabad Police.

The LHC had earlier postponed the hearing of the case and ordered law enforcement agencies to present Fawad. It also summoned IG Punjab and IG Islamabad.

During the hearing, Fawad’s counsel said that “instead of presenting Fawad in court, the law enforcement agencies took him out of the city, thus violating the court’s orders.”

The PTI leader was arrested early Wednesday morning from his residence for remarks made against the ECP. He was brought to Lahore’s Cantt where the judicial magistrate granted police his transit remand to Islamabad.

But later, the LHC directed the police to present the politician in Lahore.

The LHC heard the petition challenging Fawad’s arrest by Advocate Muhammad Ahmad Pansota. The Punjab government, provincial police officer, counter-terrorism department, deputy inspector general of police (operation) and station house officer of Defence A were named respondents in the case.

The petition demanded that police officials should be directed to recover Fawad from “illegal and unlawful confinement” and produce him before the court.

Arrested over ‘threatening remarks’

The former information minister was arrested over “threatening remarks” against the ECP, Islamabad Police said in a statement. It said that a case against Fawad was registered last night at the Kohsar police station in Islamabad on the complaint of Secretary of the ECP.

The FIR was lodged against him for using threatening language against the ECP and its members, the police said.

Fawad was accused of having “harassed and intimidated” election commission officials and their families in televised comments on Tuesday, according to the police report.

The charges, lodged in the capital Islamabad, also said he was being held under sedition legislation because he “tried to cause an impediment in the election process of the state”.

The police report shared by PTI cited Fawad describing the ECP as “clerks” signing off the orders of the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

“If you are so weak then better you should pack up and go home,” he said, according to police.

Fawad earlier told reporters: “We warn the election commission, its members and their families that, if the series of abuses against us continues, you will have to pay back.”

The development came after it was initially suggested that Fawad, along with PTI Chairman Imran Khan, could be arrested, prompting party supporters to gather around the former prime minister’s residence in Lahore.

However, the police said Fawad was arrested over charges of “inciting violence against a constitutional institution” and “inflaming the sentiments of the people”.

“Fawad Chaudhry has been arrested by the police from his house. The imported government has gone berserk,” PTI leader Farrukh Habib had tweeted earlier.

PTI on its official Twitter account had said the PTI leader was arrested by “unknown persons”.

However, Habib later posted a copy of the First Information Report (FIR).

“We showed the mirror to the ECP and it starts with arrests and FIRs,” said Habib after the development that came after the night-long turnout of PTI workers who rushed to party chairman Imran’s residence on reports that the government was planning to arrest him as well.

PTI’s Twitter account also posted a couple of videos, showing a convoy of police vehicles which it claimed was carrying Fawad after his arrest.

Later, PTI tweeted that Fawad is being taken to the Cantt court by officials of the police and Counter Terrorism Department, Lahore.

PTI to pursue sedition cases against interim setups if constitution violated: Fawad

PTI leaders condemn arrest

PTI Chairman Imran condemned Fawad’s arrest, saying that he will be holding a media talk today.

“Fawad’s arrest on his apt description of the CEC leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that Pak has become a banana republic devoid of rule of law.

“We must stand up for our fundamental rights now to save Pak’s drift towards a point of no return,” the PTI chairman urged.

Several party leaders also condemned Fawad’s arrest.

PTI Sindh President Ali Haider Zaidi slammed the federal government.

“Pakistan has become a lawless state at the hands of these lawbreaking lawmakers and corrupt law enforcement officers,” Zaidi tweeted.

“How can calling someone a Munshi or any other derogatory term even be a cause for arrest? Let alone keeping him at CTD lockup? Terrorists roam free but political opponents arrested!” PTI’s Shireen Mazari tweeted.

Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Fawad’s arrest was a “strong slap on the face of democracy and rule of law”.

Dare government to arrest Imran Khan: Fawad

Footage posted on social media by PTI’s official page earlier showed members and supporters of the party rallying in support of Imran.

In one such video, apparently before he was apprehended, Fawad said PTI supporters gathered at Zaman Park on “30 minutes of notice” on reports that the government was moving to arrest Imran.

“I dare the government to arrest Imran Khan,” said Fawad. “Pakistan is going through an economic crisis. In such a situation, are you trying to burn down the country by arresting Pakistan’s biggest leader?”

Comments

1000 characters
Abdullah Jan 25, 2023 09:05am
He needs to be fixed.Pti just wants to create chaos and when they were given power.They did nothing .
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
MalikSaabSays Jan 25, 2023 10:21am
The shamelessness of colonialism has resumed. When injustice becomes law, what becomes the duty?
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Tarique Siddique Jan 25, 2023 12:35pm
@Abdullah, Bajwa jo kar kay gaa, woh bhi Kuch acha nahi tha. Duniya bhar Kay choron, chakon ko kursi pe Betha diya.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
bonce richard Jan 25, 2023 05:54pm
In 1970 they arrested our great hero Shaikh Mujibur Rehman, although the majority of people were supporting him. What happened was we lost one wing and losing we did not learn a lesson.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
bonce richard Jan 25, 2023 05:58pm
@Tarique Siddique, Since 1947 army dominate our country directly or indirectly. They divided our country in 1971 although there was a fair election in the history of Pakistan. Still, we are begging for money from others which means we have an empty pocket.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
TimeToMovveOn Jan 25, 2023 06:33pm
@bonce richard, Well said. Pakistan is a country that will never learn its lesson. Balochistan is next. This country is just a banana republic with nuclear weapons.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Jimmy Jan 25, 2023 07:09pm
@Abdullah, Are you on the same planet? Your godfathers sharifs and their cronies have said far worse. What did they do dor last 30 yrs of rule. Looks like your head is up your orifice
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
aziz ahmed Jan 25, 2023 07:31pm
Next the Islamabad police will arrest Imran Khan and other key leader of PRTI and no one can do anything about it.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Mushtaque Ahmed Jan 25, 2023 10:30pm
@bonce richard, In the 1971 debacle Pakistan also lost 750 million people.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Taimur Khan Jan 25, 2023 11:10pm
@TimeToMovveOn, really? And what is india? America? Russia? China? On this planet 1% have 50% of the wealth or 5% have 95%! Thats the real problem. The US makes its money by stealing arab oil and selling it and creating fear so it can sell weapons. China has gobbled up one third of the planet and russia the other one third. India is busy killing muslims and dalits. Pakistan has its problems but many are caused by externals like the regime change forced by biden.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Mushtaqq Jan 26, 2023 03:52am
Threatening people family is a crime of terrorism. I don't how people can justify otherwise. If someone threatens you family would you not demand action.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Mushtaqq Jan 26, 2023 03:54am
@Abdullah, you are wrong. Threatening anyone family is terrorism.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Mushtaqq Jan 26, 2023 03:55am
@aziz ahmed, They should quit doing illegal acts like threatening the family of other people if they do not want to be arrested.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply

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