The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday granted bail to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Swati after he filed a petition seeking post-arrest bail in the controversial tweets case against him.
The IHC ordered his bail in exchange for a bond of Rs 200,000.
Earlier in the day, the high court had reserved its judgment on Swati’s petition.
The senator was incarcerated on November 27 after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) booked him in Islamabad over a “campaign of intimidating tweets against state institutions”, including the former chief of army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Swati's son withdraws letter
IHC Chief Justice Amir Farooq presided over today’s hearing with Swati’s lawyer Babar Awan and other PTI leaders present in the court.
سینیٹر اعظم سواتی کی درخواستِ ضمانت کیس کی سماعت کے سلسلے میں پاکستان تحریک انصاف کے سینیٹرز اپوزیشن لیڈر سینیٹر ڈاکٹر شہزاد وسیم کی قیادت میں اسلام آباد ہائیکورٹ میں موجود۔— PTI (@PTIofficial) January 2, 2023
اسلام آباد ہائیکورٹ کیجانب سے سینیٹر اعظم سواتی کی درخواست ضمانت پر فیصلہ محفوظ۔ pic.twitter.com/oSuMfEK46n
At the outset of the hearing, Awan said that Swati's son wanted to put his viewpoint before the court and Usman Swati informed the court that his father had written a letter that he wanted to read with the court’s permission.
Justice Farooq said that the letter was present before the court and maintained that a larger bench would be constituted to settle this matter once and for all.
However, Swati's lawyer said that the court should look into the matter today, to which the court said a larger bench could not be formed today.
Meanwhile, Usman withdrew the senator’s letter of mistrust against the IHC chief judge. Awan told the court that after being given time for counsel, he was instructed to withdraw the letter.
Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Arshad Mehmood Kayani told the court that the special prosecutor was absent to which the IHC CJ remarked that there was no need for the prosecutor as the case was of the FIA.
Advocate Awan, during his arguments, maintained that the high courts of Sindh and Balochistan had closed the cases against the senator. He also brought the first informant report (FIR) before the court and stated that he had “never seen an FIR wherein the time and place of occurrence was not mentioned”.
Read Swati 'mistrusts' IHC CJ, requests plea transfer
The chief justice questioned if Awan was alleging that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) were not followed, to which the lawyer replied in affirmative.
“There is no due process in this case, so where will the fair trial come from?” Awan asked.
The lawyer furthered that the court orders in the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) case had mandated that the FIA’s SOPs would be taken into account. He added that there was "no good or evil in the eyes of the law" until proven guilty.
During the hearing, Kayani requested more time for his arguments.
The court also inquired about the position of the challan. To this, the FIA maintained that the challan was submitted on December 24, 2022, and the hearing would take place on January 3.
The DAG stated that Swati had committed this crime for a second time and that a case was already pending against him.
The FIA said that Swati did not surrender his Twitter account, to which the court replied that the agency itself had the physical remand.
The IHC further asked FIA officials if there was any tampering with Swati’s account. The agency maintained that the senator had not denied posting the tweet.
Later, the court reserved its decision on Azam Swati's bail plea.
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