Swati’s Quetta stay saga stirs controversy

SC says PTI senator never stayed at its rest house in Balochistan

Hasnaat Malik November 06, 2022


A controversy arose on Sunday after the issuance of an ‘unusual’ statement by the Supreme Court about Senator Azam Swati’s ‘revelations’ regarding his stay in the Supreme Court Judges rest house in Quetta.

Instead of taking notice of the statement, the Supreme Court office clarified that the PTI senator did not stay at the rest house during his visit to Quetta, during which the PTI leader had claimed that an objectionable video was secretly recorded.

The Balochistan Judicial Academy said the province’s Special Branch had ‘misled’ the apex court by stating in its report that the educational institute provided accommodation to the couple.

Addressing a news conference in Lahore a day earlier, a tearful Swati had revealed that his wife had been sent an “obscene video clip” featuring the couple that was allegedly recorded when the couple visited Quetta.

“It is clarified that Mr Muhammad Azam Swati never used/stayed in the Supreme Court Judges Rest House at Quetta,” the top court said in a statement.

However, according to the Balochistan Special Branch, Swati during his trip, stayed at the Judicial Complex Quetta, which was not under the control of the Supreme Court.

The official statement issued by the top court read that its Judges Rest House in Quetta was being managed and supervised by the top court’s registrar office in Islamabad. It added that it was meant for the use of serving and former judges of the top court.

In the meanwhile, the Judicial Complex Quetta rejected the Balochistan Special Branch’s claim in the latter’s report submitted to the apex court. It clarified that since September 2019, the judicial academy was functioning in an old building on Quetta’s Anscomb Road for academic purposes without having any facility for accommodation.

It added that prior to that, the judicial academy was functioning in a two-room and one small hall situated within the premises of the Balochistan University Law College on Khojjak Road, Quetta, on a rental basis and at that time too, it did not have the facility to accommodate anyone.

“The report of [the[ Special Branch Balochistan with regard to [the] Balochistan Judicial Academy is misconceived and baseless,” a statement read.

After the rebuttal of the Balochistan Judicial Academy, criticism mounted on the SC registrar as to why he had issued such a statement which diverted the debate.

Some lawyers said that instead of giving this statement, the SC should have remained silent, or the Balochistan High Court should have been consulted first before issuing a press release.

“Why did the Supreme Court office issue the press release without verifying such basic information from the Judicial Academy,” PTI lawyer Taimur Malik wondered. “The level of competence of the Special Branch is also in question.”

Another PTI lawyer said that the Supreme Court should have taken suo motu notice over Swati’s press conference.

Pakistan Bar Council member in Balochistan Muneer Kakar said that there were two rest houses in Quetta –- one for the Supreme Court and other for the Federal Shariat Court judges.

He added that Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani was the right person to end this confusion.

Senior lawyers said that despite having doubts on the authentication of the video, burden was on the state institution to clarify their positions and find out the real culprits. It is expected that the Supreme Court may clarify its position today (Monday).

Meanwhile, Senate Chairman Sanjrani notified a 14-member special team to investigate the matter. According to the notification, the committee members would decide about the convener by themselves.

Also read: Swati cries as ‘private video’ with wife leaked to family

The committee includes senators Azam Nazeer Tarar of the PML-N, Mohsin Aziz of the PTI, Yousuf Raza Gilani of the PPP, Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F, Anwaarul Haq Kakar, Faisal Subzwari of the MQM-P, Tahir Bizenjo of the National Party, Shafiq Tareen of the Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Muhammad Qasim of the BNP-M, Muzaffar Shah of the PML-F, Hidayatullah Khan of the ANP, Kamil Ali Agha of the PML-Q and Dilawar Khan.

The committee will investigate all aspects of Swati’s alleged video leak and submit a report to the Senate within 30 days.

Narrating his ordeal at the news conference, the PTI senator had said that his wife had called him on Friday night and kept crying. Swati said he then asked his daughter to ask her mother what was the matter.

He added that when his daughter insisted, his wife revealed that someone had sent her a private video of him from an “unknown number”. He said his daughter while crying revealed to him that the video featured his wife as well.

“I cannot say any further,” he said, with tears in his eyes.

 “I asked her how was that possible,” the senator said, bursting into tears. He added that his daughter told him that the video was from when Swati and his wife had visited Quetta.

Recalling that visit, he said the Senate chairman, who respected his wife, had made arrangements for them to stay at the Supreme Court’s judicial lodges in Quetta.

“You [Sanjrani] made arrangements there to protect an elderly senator and your aunt [Swati’s wife]. And you told me that I will stay there as there were no Supreme Court judges in Quetta,” he added.



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