ISLAMABAD (a1tv News) A local court on Wednesday approved two-day physical remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry.
Duty Magistrate Naveed Khan pronounced the reserved verdict, and adjourned the hearing till January 27 (Friday). The investigating officer had sought eight-day physical remand of the former minister but the request was rejected.
The PTI leader was produced before the court of duty magistrate Naveed Khan at the district and sessions court in Islamabad s F-8 area and prayed for an eight day physical remand.
At the outset of the hearing, PTI s lawyers requested the court to remove the handcuffs of Fawad Chaudhary, Fawad Chaudhary asked the court to tell the Islamabad police not to do this, there are 1500 policemen outside, and he is handcuffed, adding, “I am a lawyer of the Supreme Court, and I want to talk to my family for five minutes and five minutes to my lawyers.”
“It is unfortunate that we are taking revenge against each other in politics,” he said. Fawad requested that the case against him be dismissed, arguing that if the case continued, free speech would end in the country.
The counsel of the ECP, Saad Hassan, read out the text of the FIR. In his arguments, the lawyer said that the ECP is a constitutional institution, and it has all the rights to hold elections. He said that the commission was being targeted under a well-thought-out plan, and the accused tried to provoke the citizens, while they are role models for the public. The purpose of his speech was to provoke the groups.
A large number of PTI leaders and workers were also present outside the court. A huge contingent of police has been deputed at the district and sessions courts. The police high command, through a wireless call, had directed the personnel to reach F-8 to avoid any untoward incident.
Saad Hassan told the court that Fawad targeted the families of the ECP members, adding that the PTI leader was promoting hatred against the institution. He went on to say that the people behind the speech also needed to be identified, adding that there was sufficient evidence in the media against the PTI leader.
The ECP lawyer further added that the charges of sedition are also included in the FIR, adding that the members of the Commission are being threatened, the accused has been remanded, and further investigation is to be done.
Mr. Hassan, while presenting his arguments, said that the PTI leader called ECP a clerk, to which the former minister again repeated his words, on which the court asked Fawad Chaudhary to come to one side and let the other parties come to the other side.
Mr. Chaudhry continued by saying, “I am grateful that they have included sedition charges in the case against me, putting me in the ranks of great leaders like Nelson Mandela and Abul Kalam Azad.” He added that the case against him should be dismissed, arguing that if the case continues, free speech would end in the country.
The PTI leader further said that there shouldn’t be any case against him; in this way, democracy will end and no one will be able to criticize. “I never gave a speech but was addressing a media talk during which I was misquoted.” “I am the spokesperson of the PTI, and whatever I say is the party s policy.” “It is not necessary that what I say is my own personal opinion,” he argued.
He also argued that if this FIR is accepted as a legal document, then it will be a violation of the fundamental rights of the people, adding that accepting ECP lawyers would mean that if any policy or institution is criticized, a case of sedition will be registered.
Lawyers Ali Bukhari and Qaiser Imam, representing Fawad, also presented their arguments in court.
Bukhari argued that the FIR against Fawad should have been registered in Lahore, stating that, according to the law, a case must be registered where the alleged crime took place.
On the other hand, Imam questioned the applicability of the charges and whether a case could be registered at someone s request. He also stated that the remarks made by the PTI leader were not within the jurisdiction of the Kohsar police station as they were not made in Islamabad.
After hearing the arguments, the judge reserved the verdict.
The PTI leader was taken into custody from his residence in Lahore by police in the wee hours of Wednesday. His sudden arrest angered leaders of the PTI, including Hammad Azhar and Farrukh Habib, as they warned of launching countrywide protests if the location of Mr Chaudhry was not disclosed as they claimed that details about his arrest were not being shared.
It was revealed that the former information minister was arrested in a case registered by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Umer Hameed at the Kohsar police station of the capital city.
In his speech outside Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore, Fawad warned the Election Commission, its members and their families, according to the FIR. Fawad said that those who become part of the caretaker government would be pursued until they were punished. He had said that the people sitting in the government would be pursued to their houses.
Meanwhile, the PTI leaders have expressed concerns over the arrest of Fawad Chaudhry and announced to move the court against it.
Earlier, thousands of PTI workers gathered outside PTI chief Imran Khan residence in Zaman Park, Lahore in the wee hours of Wednesday to protect their leader from possible arrest by the Punjab police
The PTI leader, according to the First Information Report (FIR), has been booked under sections 153A, 506 and 124 A of the PPC for allegedly threatening the ECP and its members in a televised interview on Tuesday. The FIR carries the excerpt of the former MNA’s statement wherein he alleged that the election commission had become a “Munshi” as the election commissioner signed things like a clerk after they were sent to him by the government.
Mr Chaudhry said those who would be involved in injustice to the PTI would be pursued until they were punished. He said people should pursue the elements who were deceiving public, to their houses. Expressing reservations about the appointments of some officials in the ECP Punjab ahead of elections, he said if these appointments were not rolled back, “we warn that the election commission and its members will have to pay back”.
The complainant said Fawad Chaudhry had threatened the chief election commissioner, members of the ECP and their families in his speech which he described as an attempt to create hurdles in the electoral process.
“The speech has created a permanent threat for the ECP members and their families,” he said, adding that the PTI leader had attempted to create differences between the government and the ECP. “It is a serious crime to influence the electoral process by issuing threats to the constitutional institutions,” he said, adding that such statements could lead to chaos in the country.
Earlier in the day, a court in Lahore allowed police to take PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry to Islamabad hours after he was arrested from his residence over provocative statement against the top electoral body.
The PTI stalwart was taken into custody in the wee hours of Wednesday after he was booked under sections 153A, 506 and 124 A of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint lodged by Election Commission of Pakistan Secretary Umer Hameed. Police produced Mr Chaudhry in court of Rana Muddasir in handcuffs at 10am and sought one-day transit remand as they wanted to shift him to Islamabad as the case was registered at the Kohsar police station.
Speaking to the media, the PTI leader said security had been placed in a way as a “terrorist” was being brought to court, adding that he was unaware of the charges levelled against him. He also urged people to take to the street against the government. He said former South Africa president Nelson Mandela had also been booked in a sedition case.
During the hearing, the former information minister requested judge Rana Mudassir to provide him a copy of the FIR registered against him, which was accepted. His lawyer opposed the transit remand, saying the distance between Lahore and Islamabad was just four hours and there was no need of remand. Police should directly take his client to the federal capital and produce in court, he said.
The PTI leader also said he had filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) against his illegal detention. He requested the judge to not issue verdict on the transit remand plea until the LHC decides the case.
After hearing the arguments, the court allowed police to take the PTI leader to Islamabad and produce him before the relevant forum. It also ordered the medical examination of Mr Chaudhry. In line with the court orders, police took the PTI bigwig to the Services Hospital, Lahore, for medical examination. He would be shifted to Islamabad after the medical examination.
The sudden arrest of Mr Chaudhry has angered the PTI leaders including Hammad Azhar and Farrukh Habib who warned of launching countrywide protests and moving court against it.
Later, the Lahore High Court (LHC) summoned the Punjab and Islamabad IGPs over police failure to produce senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry in court on a plea challenging his overnight arrest by the Islamabad police.
A petition was filed in the high court, challenging Fawad Chaudhry’s arrest for “threatening” the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) members and their families. The petition was subsequently taken up by LHC’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh. During the hearing, the court instructed police to present Fawad in court by 1:30pm.
The judge had earlier asked police to present Mr Chaudhry in court at half past one but police refused to comply without a written order. As the court took up the case, Justice Sheikh asked the law officer about the whereabouts of the PTI leader. As the additional advocate general told the court that police had already taken the petitioner to Islamabad, the judge expressed his annoyance and remarked that “the court knows how to have its orders implemented”.
The judge gave police time till 6pm to produce Fawad Chaudhry failing which, he said, he would take an action.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry’s wife Hiba Fawad appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of her husband’s overnight arrest.
She said her husband was kidnapped, not arrested as the police team had no warrant when they conducted the raid.
Hiba said eight to 10 police officials jumped into the premises of their house, opened the gates and took her husband without showing the arrest warrants or any other legal document. The family, she said, had no idea where Fawad had been taken.
She said, “whosoever is behind Fawad’s arrest – whether it’s the ‘imported government’ or anyone else – they should answer on under what law he has been arrested.”
“We were not informed. Four police vehicles came and they took Fawad along with his mobile phone. We don’t know where he has been taken,” she said.
Hiba Fawad said they had contacted the police stations concerned in Punjab but there had been no update about her husband. She appealed to the CJP and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to make sure the family was informed about Fawad’s condition and where he had been taken or else an FIR for kidnapping would be lodged.
PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan condemned the arrest of party bigwig Fawad Chaudhry for allegedly threatening the officials of the top electoral body.
In a tweet, the former prime minister said: “Fawad s arrest on his apt description of the CEC [chief election commissioner] leaves no doubt in anyone s mind that Pak[istan] has become a banana republic devoid of rule of law”.
The PTI chief also urged the people to stand up for their fundamental rights now before the country reached a point of no return. He also announced a press conference at 4pm today (Wednesday). “We must stand up for our fundamental rights now to save Pak s drift towards a point of no return,” he wrote.