The Sindh High Court (SHC) restricted on Monday the police from arresting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Khan Swati in any more cases.
The directive came during the hearing of a petition filed this morning by Azam’s son, Usman Swati. The court took up the plea after accepting the request for immediate hearing.
Azam has been in Sindh police custody for three days. He faces two cases for posting controversial tweets against senior military leaders.
He was arrested over a “highly obnoxious campaign of intimidating tweets […] against state institutions” by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on November 27 from Islamabad and has been in detention since then — first in Quetta and now in Sindh’s Qambar.
An SHC bench headed by Justice Karim Khan Agha held the hearing on Usman’s plea.
During the hearing, the Sindh prosecutor-general informed the court that all cases against Azam were lodged privately. He said that the prosecution is ready to present its arguments on a date of the court’s choosing.
The prosecutor requested for a copy of the plea and an extension of a week to prepare arguments.
Later, the court adjourned the hearing till tomorrow (December 13), while directing to club Usman’s new petition with a similar one he filed earlier. It directed the prosecutor-general to furnish the court with a reply by December 14, and also served a notice to Sindh Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ghulam Nabi Memon for the restraining orders.
SHC seeks detailed report of Azam’s cases
Earlier, the SHC directed IGP Memon to submit a detailed report regarding cases against Azam in the province.
Justice Agha issued the directives today during the hearing of the Perween Rehman murder case.
IG Nabi was present in court when the judge asked about the multiple first information reports (FIRs) registered against the PTI senator.
During the hearing today, the SHC judge asked the Sindh IG to share details about the cases against Azam Swati.
“We have heard that cases have also been filed against a former prime minister. How can multiple FIRs be registered in one offence?” he asked.
Justice KK Agha said that there were Supreme Court verdicts in this regard.
Controversial tweets cases
The PTI leader is facing charges of libel for using foul language against senior military officers in his tweets. Sindh police shifted him to District Qambar after taking him into custody from Balochistan police on Friday.
Swati is booked in multiple cases across the country — as stated by his lawyer during a hearing in an Islamabad court — for his controversial tweets.
Initially, the senator was arrested by the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), on October 14, after he posted a highly-hateful and threatening message against the army chief, judiciary and other state institutions, on his official Twitter account.
The senator had secured bail in that case. But on November 27, FIA once again arrested Swati for using abusive language against the senior military officers, including former army chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa.
On December 2, Balochistan police arrested Swati for a similar case registered against him in Quetta.
At the time of his arrest, he was already on judicial remand in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, following his detention for a second time in the controversial tweets case. He was then shifted to Quetta under a transit remand acquired by the Balochistan police.
However, the Balochistan High Court had issued directives not to register any more cases against Swati in the province and cancel all existing FIRs against him in the province.
But on December 9, Balochistan police handed over Swati to Sindh police. The senator’s lawyer Iqbal Shah confirmed that Balochistan police handed over the septuagenarian to Sindh, despite the Balochistan High Court’s order for his release earlier in the day.