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IHC grants bail to Senator Azam Swati in controversial tweets case

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  • Azam Swati’s bail has been approved against bonds of Rs200,000.
  • IHC had earlier reserved its verdict in the case. 
  • Swati had filed plea seeking release on bail in IHC.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday approved the bail of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Swati in the controversial tweets case.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq announced the verdict reserved earlier today, granting bail to the PTI leader in the case filed against him in November 2022.

The senator’s bail has been approved against surety bonds of Rs200,000.

Swati has been behind bars since November 27, when he was arrested for the second time for using abusive language against the top military brass, including former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa. The septuagenarian hurled swear words at Bajwa.

Swati had filed a plea seeking release on bail in IHC in relation to the case filed against him on November 26. His earlier plea, filed on December 21, was dismissed by trial court judge Azam Khan, who said that the senator had committed the same offence twice.

In his application, the senator stated that he did not post derogatory remarks against any institutions. He added that the prosecution has no proof against him despite an investigation.

The application read that Swati is 75 years old and a heart patient and that jailing him would be a sentence without conviction as all evidence against him is documentary.

Today’s hearing 

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq conducted the hearing of the case without the presence of the special prosecutor. Swati’s lawyer Babar Awan appeared in court on behalf of his client.

Awan said that Swati’s son wants to put his viewpoint before the court.

“My father had written a letter, I want to read it with the court’s permission,” said Swati’s son.

At this, Justice Farooq said that the letter is present before the court.

The court said that a larger bench would be constituted to settle this matter once and for all.

Swati’s lawyer said that the court should look into this matter today, to which the court said a larger bench cannot be formed today.

Meanwhile, Swati’s son withdrew his letter of no-confidence against the IHC chief justice.

The court then inquired about the position of the challan, to which, the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) replied that the challan was submitted on December 24, 2022, and the hearing will take place on January 3. 

The deputy attorney general said that the PTI senator has committed the crime again and a case has already been pending. 

The FIA said that Swati did not surrender his Twitter account. At this, the court said that the investigating agency itself ended the physical remand. 

“Is there a chance of tampering?” the court questioned the FIA officials. 

To this, the FIA said that Swati did not deny the tweet.

The court then reserved its verdict in the case. 

The cases

Swati is booked in multiple cases across the country for his controversial tweets against senior military officers.

Initially, the senator was arrested by the FIA on October 13 after he posted a hateful and threatening message against the then-army chief, judiciary, and other state institutions on his official Twitter account.

He had secured bail in that case, but on November 27, the FIA arrested him again for using abusive language against the top military brass, including Gen (retd) Bajwa.

On December 2, Balochistan police arrested Swati in a similar case registered against him in Quetta. At the time of his arrest, he was already on judicial remand in Adiala Jail and was shifted to Quetta under a transit remand acquired by the Balochistan police.

Later, the Balochistan High Court (BHC) ordered the quashing of all cases registered against the senator in the province. Once BHC issued the order, the Sindh Police took the senator into custody over the issue of controversial tweets.

The senator then approached the Sindh High Court for bail. The court also directed the quashing of all cases registered against the senator in the province.

Following the orders, Islamabad Police took the senator into its custody and brought him to the federal capital. He is still in custody.

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36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the JUI-F leader’s resignation, which he accepted.

In the National Assembly, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri will be sworn in as a member.

Following their victories in the general elections on February 8 for the Balochistan Assembly, Senators Sarfraz Bugti and Prince Umar Ahmedzai had already announced their resignations from the Senate.

Prior carer Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the resignation of Federal Interior Minister Bugti, which he accepted.

In a similar vein, Senator Prince Umar Ahmedzai of the Balochistan Awami Party resigned from the Senate following his election to the provincial legislature.

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NA session: The interim government addresses President Alvi’s concerns

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Details indicate that in response, the federal government informed Dr. Arif Alvi that Article 91 of the 1973 Constitution does not grant the president the “discretion or power” to adjourn the National Assembly session.

The sources quoted the federal administration and said, “Nowhere in Article 91 is it written that if the House is incomplete, the National Assembly session cannot be convened.”

It further said that Article 54 of the constitution allowed the president to adjourn the National Assembly’s “ordinary” session alone. According to the summary, the president was requested to call an extraordinary session of the National Assembly so that the newly elected members may take an oath of office.

Dr. Arif Alvi was asked to reconsider his choice and call a meeting of the National Assembly by the acting federal government on February 29.

The sources quoted the federal government and stated, “It is not written anywhere in the constitution that if specific seats are not allotted, the session cannot be called.”

It further said that the National Assembly must be called within 21 days following the election in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution.

The caretaker administration responded, saying, “Even if the President does not call the National Assembly session by February 29, it would still be held on the same day.”

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