ISLAMABAD: An Islamabad court on Tuesday extended physical remand of Senator Azam Swati, a close aide of former prime minister Imran Khan, by four days in a case registered against him for remarks critical of military officials, local media reported.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Swati on Sunday for the second time in less than two months after multiple cases were lodged against him in Sindh and Balochistan provinces for using “derogatory language” and “provoking the masses against the army.”
Swati made the comments at a protest rally in Rawalpindi, where Khan later announced his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was quitting the country’s provincial legislatures as the former premier made his first public appearance since being wounded in a gun attack on November 3.
The senator was not present at Tuesday’s hearing, while his lawyer Babar Awan said Swati was facing threats to his life and requested Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Bashir to exempt his client from court appearances which was accepted, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported.
“The FIA’s counsel requested to extend Swati’s remand for six more days as further investigation was required into the senator’s mobile phone and Twitter account,” the report read.
“However, the judge turned down the request and instead granted the FIA physical remand of the PTI leader for another four days.”
The hearing was adjourned after the judge directed authorities ensure Swati attends the next hearing through a video link.
Swati was previously arrested by the FIA in October over a controversial tweet targeting the outgoing army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, but the senator was later released on bail.
The lawmaker has maintained that he was stripped naked and tortured while he was in the custody of the law enforcement. He also told a news conference this month that his wife had received an obscene video which featured him and her, but did not divulge further details.
Swati has accused military officials, including those from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, of being behind his alleged custodial torture.
Following Swati’s arrest, Khan said the senator’s anger and frustration were “justifiable” after what he and his family had gone through.
“Article 14 of our Constitution refers to ‘Inviolability of dignity of man;’ so my question to our Honourable SC (Supreme Court) judges is whether this provision is only applicable to the powerful of the State and for everyone else there is no protection of their basic human dignity,” Khan said on Monday.