- 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.
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.
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.
SC to hear reference against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto death sentence next week
- Nine-member bench, headed by CJP, to hear reference.
- Last hearing of reference was held on Nov 11, 2022.
- SC to also hear IHC ex-judge Shaukat Siddiqui plea on removal.
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court is set to take up the 12-year-old presidential reference on revisiting the controversial death sentence awarded to former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto next week, The News reported Friday.
A nine-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, will hear the presidential reference on reconsideration of Bhutto’s death sentence judgment on December 12.
The decision to fix the instant case was made under Section 2(1) of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, by a three-member committee comprising CJP Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
According to Supreme Court Registrar Jazeela Aslam, the other members of the larger bench are Justice Masood, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminud Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Justice Musarrat Hilali.
It is pertinent to mention that former president Asif Ali Zardari, on April 2, 2011, had approached the apex court through a presidential reference under Article 186 of the Constitution to seek its opinion on revisiting the trial of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The last hearing of the reference was held on November 11, 2022.
Earlier, an 11-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had conducted five hearings in the presidential reference.
Babar Awan, the then federal law minister in the PPP regime, had earlier appeared as the federal government’s lawyer in the case and presented lengthy arguments. However, on January 17, 2012, Awan’s law practice license was suspended for criticising the court’s order in the Memogate case. Later, the case was adjourned due to a change of counsel who were appearing in the instant reference.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also fixed the petition of sacked Islamabad High Court (IHC) Judge Shaukat Siddiqui challenging his removal for misconduct on December 14.
ECP expected to announce election schedule on December 14
- ECP has published final list of delimitations.
- CEC says ECP aware of its duties regarding polls.
- Calls on public to participate in elections.
ISLAMABAD: Amid heightened political temperature in the country, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is expected to announce the schedule for much-awaited general elections on December 14, The News reported Friday.
Political parties are busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the polls which are slated to take place on February 8 next year.
The electoral body recently published the final list of delimitations clearing a major hurdle to the announcement of the polls. It is in the final phase of appointment of district returning officers, returning officers and assistant officers as per the provisions of the Elections Act, 2017.
According to Sections 50 and 51 of the Elections Act, a district returning officer is appointed for each district or a specified area and a returning officer for each constituency for elections to an assembly.
The provincial election commissioners as well as the Election Commission Secretariat have furnished lists of government officers for the election duty. Their appointment will follow the election-related training.
Separately, in a message on the occasion of National Voters Day, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said the printing and delivery of the final electoral rolls had been completed successfully. He said the ECP was fully cognisant of all its constitutional and legal responsibilities regarding elections and related matters.
CEC Raja also referred to the Election Commission’s full preparedness and commitment and assured the voters of complete security, privacy and transparency throughout the election process. The chief election commissioner called on the public to participate in the polls to shape their bright future.
The Finance Division on Tuesday released Rs17.4 billion to the ECP for poll arrangements, putting to rest election delay rumours.
Last week, the ECP also notified the final list of delimitation of constituencies of the national and four provincial assemblies, paving the way for the announcement of the election schedule.
The CEC also reiterated that elections will take place at its scheduled time and maintained that the commission will ensure complete security during the polls.
He also urged the people to use their right to vote for the “bright future of the country and nation” and cooperate with the ECP to ensure peaceful elections.
Raja also reminded the people that they have “power of vote,” asking them to cast their ballot while keeping in view the future of their children.
National Voters Day is observed each year on December 7 to create awareness among the masses about the importance of vote registration and encourage the electorates to use the power of the ballot to elect their representatives.
Zardari ropes in Balochistan electables as electioneering gears up
- Former minister Sikandar Imrani among others join PPP.
- Zardari welcomes Balochistan leaders into party’s fold.
- Development comes amid heightened political activities.
Several electables from Balochistan including former chief minister and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Abdul Qudous Bizenjo joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the run-up to the February 8 elections.
The development came in a meeting with PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in Lahore on Thursday, according to a statement issued on the party’s social media channel on Thursday.
During the meeting, former Balochistan minister Sikandar Imrani, Syed Nizamuddin, Syed Hameed, Naseer Ahmed Bizenjo and Mir Abdul Wahab Bizenjo also joined the PPP.
Zardari welcomed them into the party folds.
The development comes amid heightened political temperature in the country with political parties busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the elections slated to take place on February 8, 2023.
Last month, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif succeeded in wooing at least two dozen prominent politicians from Balochistan into the party ranks.
The electables included Jam Kamal Khan, Mir Saleem Khosa, Noor Mohammad, Baba Buledi, Sardar Masood Luni, Rubaba Buledi, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, Shoaib Nosherwani, Ramin Jan Muhammad Hassni and Muhammad Khan Lehri joined the PML-N ranks.
PPP leaders Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail, Sardar Fateh Muhammad, and Faiq Jamali jumped ship to join the PML-N.
From the National Party, Mujib Mohammad Hassni and former senator Dr Ashok Kumar, while Zeenat Shahwani of BNP-M and PTI’s Muhammad Jamali and Sardar Atif Sanjrani also joined the PML-N.