An Islamabad court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Senator Azam Swati, who has been under arrest since last month for sending controversial tweets criticising the military leadership,
Special Judge Central Muhammad Azam Khan while dismissing the petition remarked that Swati had committed the same offence twice.
Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi appeared in the court and explained the account verification method on Twitter, saying that Swati’s account had a “blue tick” and that he is followed by prominent personalities on the social media platform, including politicians and journalists.
The prosecutor and the public advocate, while opposing the bail application, told the court that Swati had never denied that the Twitter account was not his.
They said that there was no doubt that the handle belonged to the PTI senator, who tried to create a narrative against the Pakistan Army.
Swati’s lawyer, Sohail Khan Swati, while giving arguments, said that a case of cybercrime cannot be made on screenshots of tweets. The prosecutor maintained that the applicant’s advocate during his argument never denied that the Twitter account does not belong to the PTI leader.
After the arguments from lawyers of both sides, the court reserved the verdict. Later, while announcing the decision, the court said that Swati had committed the same offence twice.
On November 27, Swati was arrested over a “highly obnoxious campaign of intimidating tweets against state institutions” by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The PTI leader has been in detention since and continues to face legal action.
The FIA booked him under Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016 (Peca), which deals with offences against the dignity of a person, while multiple first information reports (FIRs) were registered against him for using “derogatory language” and “provoking the people against the army” in Sindh and Balochistan as well.
He was presented before the judicial magistrate in Sindh’s Qambar city in the two cases registered with Warah and Qambar police and sent on remand for three days.
However, on Monday, the Balochistan High Court (BHC) ordered quashing of all three first information reports (FIRs) registered against Swati across the province.