ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday filed an appeal in the district and sessions court of Islamabad challenging the judicial magistrate’s ruling that sent the former information minister to Adiala Jail on a 14-day judicial remand.
The development comes hours after the police moved the court challenging Judicial Magistrate Waqas Ahmed Raja’s order rejecting their plea seeking an extension in the PTI leader’s physical remand.
The district and sessions court judge had already ordered the authorities to present Fawad before the court by 12:30pm, however, the police failed to produce him at the given time.
While the police requested the sessions judge to “nullify” the judicial magistrate’s decision and extend Fawad’s physical remand for further investigation, Fawad submitted a plea asking the court to discharge him from the case.
The petition submitted by Fawad’s lawyers on his behalf stated that the PTI leader should be discharged from the case instead of being sent on a judicial remand. Sessions Judge Tahir Mehmood Khan has issued notices to the prosecutor and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Fawad was arrested from his Lahore residence on Wednesday after the case was registered at the Kohsar Police Station on the complaint of ECP Secretary Omar Hameed.
He was presented before the court on Friday after the expiry of remand, however, the prosection’s request for an extension was turned down.
At the outset of the hearing today, the court issued notices to all relevant parties and adjourned the hearing till 10am.
When the hearing resumed at 10am, Fawad’s lawyer Babar Awan appeared before the court and requested the judge to order Additional Sessions Judge Faizan Gillani to hear Fawad’s bail plea.
“It is surprising that the investigation officer (IO) is not appearing before the court,” Awan said, adding that the IO didn’t appear despite being summoned at 10am.
At this, the judge said that the court will look into this matter at 10:30am and adjourned the proceedings again.
Upon resumption of proceedings, the court inquired about the progress in investigations during Fawad’s two-day physical remand.
At this, the prosecutor informed the court that Fawad’s photogrammetry test had to be done in the Punjab Forensic Lab in Lahore. He said that it was practically just one-day physical remand.
Hearing on bail plea
Meanwhile, additional sessions judge also heard PTI leader’s bail plea this morning.
At the outset of this hearing, Fawad’s counsel appeared before the court and said: “I am ready for the arguments on the petition.”
However, the judge said he hadn’t received the case file and records therefore he adjourned the proceedings till 10am.
Afterwards, the proceeding was halted till the verdict on the police’s plea challenging the decision on the rejection of an extension in physical remand.
A day earlier, Fawad submitted a post-arrest bail petition to the judicial magistrate of Islamabad after the local court sent the former information minister on 14-day judicial remand.
The petition claimed that the PTI leader has been “falsely involved in the instant case by the complainant with the malafide intention and ulterior motives just to harass, pressurise and blackmail the present petitioner”.
The petition submitted by the PTI leader added that the allegations levelled in the first information report (FIR) are “absolutely false, frivolous and baseless”. It also mentioned that Fawad is innocent and has no link or concern with the commission of the alleged offence.”
It added that Fawad was arrested “unlawfully and without any justification in negation to the law”.
‘Legal battel to continue’
Speaking to journalists, Fawad’s brother Faisal Chaudhry said that they already knew that the police and Election Commission would behave in a “dishonest manner”.
He, however, maintained that all these issues will be highlighted in front of the court. “Detaining any citizen is a violation of fundamental rights,” he said, adding that the legal battle will continue despite state repression.
Faisal termed all cases registered against other PTI leaders, including Azam Swati, “false”.
This is a developing story and is being updated with more details.