A court allowed the Islamabad Police on Wednesday to take PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry to the capital, hours after he was arrested from outside his residence in Lahore.
Fawad was arrested from his residence before dawn on Wednesday for “inciting violence against a constitutional institution” and publicly censuring the government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for conspiring to arrest party chairman Imran Khan.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry was produced before a Lahore court on Wednesday by the Islamabad Police to seek a transitory remand to transfer the former federal minister to the federal capital.
Fawad was arrested from his residence before dawn Wednesday after he publicly censured the government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for conspiring arrest of party chairman Imran Khan.
A case against Fawad was registered last night at the Kohsar police station in Islamabad on the complaint of ECP Secretary Omer Hamid Khan. The first information report (FIR) was lodged against him for using threatening language against the ECP and its members.
At around 10 am, Fawad was brought to Lahore’s Cantt court by officials of the Punjab Counter Terrorism Department and police. Upon his entrance, PTI lawyers showered rose petals on him and raised slogans.
Talking to media outside the court, Fawad said that those who arrested him should be ashamed of themselves.
“They have deployed so much police as if they are escorting James Bond,” he said, adding that the police kept him in the “category of terrorists”.
As the hearing began, the investigating officer requested the court to grant Islamabad police the PTI leader’s transit remand.
For his part, Fawad asked the judge to provide him with a copy of the FIR registered against him. He said that he was proud of the charges against him. “These allegations were also levelled on Nelson Mandela.”
“It is being said that I have committed sedition […] I am a former Supreme Court lawyer and federal minister […] I should be treated with respect,” he told the court.
The PTI leader said that the way he was arrested was “inappropriate”.
“Had they called me, I would have come myself.”
Commenting on his remarks against the ECP, he said that “the entire country is saying the same”.
Meanwhile, Fawad’s lawyer said a habeas corpus petition — a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention — filed by Fawad was pending in the Lahore High Court. “Until a decision is taken on that, a transit remand can’t be granted.”
Here, the judicial magistrate instructed the police to conduct a medical examination of Fawad at the Lahore Services Hospital and to present him before a court in Islamabad today.
THE FIR: A first information report was registered against Fawad at the Kohsar police station in Islamabad on the complaint of Secretary of the Election Commission Umar Hameed.
The complaint invokes sections 153-A (promotion of enmity between groups), 506 (criminal intimidation), 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) and 124-A (sedition) of the Pakistan Penal Code at Islamabad’s Kohsar Police Station.
It stated that Fawad, in a speech outside PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s house, threatened the ECP and said that “those who become part of the caretaker government [in Punjab] will be pursued and punished.”
Later in a tweet, the Islamabad police said that Fawad tried to “incite violence against a constitutional institution” and “inflame the sentiments of the people”.
The FIR also mentioned that Fawad said that the status of the ECP was reduced to that of a “Munshi [clerk]”.
Fawad’s arrest comes amid the nightlong turnout of PTI workers who rushed to party chairman Imran Khan’s residence to ensure his security after it was rumoured that the government is planning to arrest the former prime minister.