Pak opposition leader Fawad Chaudhry remanded to 14-day judicial custody

The senior politician and close aide to ex-PM Khan was arrested on charges of 'inciting violence' against a constitutional institution

Pakistan's former information minister Fawad Chaudhry (C) gestures as police officials escort him after a hearing at a court in Islamabad on Friday. — AFP
Pakistan's former information minister Fawad Chaudhry (C) gestures as police officials escort him after a hearing at a court in Islamabad on Friday. — AFP


Published: Fri 27 Jan 2023, 5:25 PM

Last updated: Fri 27 Jan 2023, 5:40 PM

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's senior leader Fawad Chaudhry was on Friday remanded to judicial custody and sent to Adiala jail by a local court here on charges of "inciting violence" against a constitutional institution.

Fawad, a close aide of PTI party chief and former prime minister Imran Khan, was arrested in a pre-dawn raid on Wednesday from his residence in Lahore after a case was registered against him at Islamabad's Kohsar Police Station on the complaint of the Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The Dawn newspaper reported that the Islamabad district and sessions court sent Fawad, 52, to the high-security Adiala jail on a 14-day judicial remand in the case over alleged incitement of violence against a constitutional institution.

The court on Wednesday night had granted police an initial two-day physical remand of Fawad, hours after he was arrested.

The ECP’s plea for an extension to Fawad’s physical remand was heard by Judge Raja Waqas Ahmed on Friday.

At the hearing, the election commission’s lawyer Saad Hassan, the prosecutor in the case, informed the court that the PTI leader’s voice matching had been completed.

He requested an extension in remand, saying that Fawad had to be taken to Lahore for a photogrammetric test.

The prosecutor contended before the court that the former federal minister incited hatred against a constitutional institution.

“Fawad is trying to create unrest,” he said. “The statement threatens the lives of the election commission’s workers.” The ECP lawyer argued that an extension to the PTI leader’s remand was imperative to carry out further investigation in the case.

“A day had already passed when the remand was approved at 12am,” the investigation officer said.

The ECP lawyer told the court that Fawad’s statement was available on record, adding that the PTI leader had also acknowledged his speech. “No one can object to the speech. “The accused has accepted his statement.” At this, Fawad’s counsel Babar Awan accused the election commission of colluding with the government against PTI.

“We are being blamed and pressured,” he said.

The ECP lawyer responded that Fawad was a senior politician but “no one is above the law”.

He told the court that it was mandatory to search his home. “It is important to recover Fawad’s laptop and mobile phone in his presence,” he said.

“Fawad’s statement is not one person’s statement but an entire group’s narrative,” the ECP lawyer said.

“A campaign has not only been launched against the ECP but also against the top officials of the election commission,” said.

Separately, a bail application was filed by Fawad on the argument that the case against him was based on “mala fide intention” and “ulterior motives”, and filed “only to harass, pressurise (sic) and blackmail” him. It adds that the allegations levelled in the FIR were “absolutely false, frivolous and baseless”.

“The petitioner was arrested illegally, unlawfully and without any justification in negation to the law and constitutional rights of the petitioner.” The arrest of Fawad further deepens political fault lines in Pakistan where the Khan-led opposition is demanding snap polls.

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