Police officials escort the arrested leader of opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Fawad Chaudhry (C) to present him before a court in Lahore on January 25, 2023. — AFP

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry Friday was produced before a district and sessions court in Islamabad on Friday after the completion of two-day physical remand in a sedition case. 

The prosecutor requested an extension, saying that physical remand is required to carry out further investigation. 

The court on Wednesday approved a two-day physical remand of the PTI leader in a sedition case turning down the Islamabad Police’s request of eight-day physical remand of the former federal minister.

Following the order, the capital’s police shifted the former federal information minister to the Counter-Terrorism Department’s (CTD) complex in Sector H-11.

The police — during the time that the verdict was reserved — also took Fawad to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), where he underwent a medical checkup and was declared fit.

The former federal minister vehemently denied all charges and demanded the case’s dismissal as it is “fraud and the FIR is a sham”.

Fawad’s lawyers told the court that the charges were politically motivated and since the PTI leader made the statements in Lahore, his case should have been registered in the city and not Islamabad.

The PTI leader was arrested from his Lahore residence in the wee hours of Wednesday after he publicly “threatened” the members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and their families in a media talk a day earlier.

His arrest drew strong criticism within the federal government’s ranks — which, although, has denied involvement.

Today’s hearing

The hearing of the case is taking place in Judicial Magistrate Waqas Ahmad Raja’s court. ECP’s lawyer Saad Hasan and PTI’s lawyers — Babar Awan, Faisal Chaudhry and Ali Bukhari — are also present.

During the hearing, the prosecutor remarked that Fawad is spreading hatred against the constitutional institution and is also trying to create unrest.

“The statement is a threat to the lives of ECP’s members,” the prosecutor said seeking an extension of the physical remand.

“Fawad’s voice has been matched and his photogrammetry test has to be carried out in Lahore,” he said, adding that physical remand is required to carry out further investigation.

The investigating officer (IO) highlighted that the court approved the remand at 12am for two days, therefore “practically” the police had only one day.

The ECP’s counsel told the magistrate that Fawad’s statement is “on record” and the PTI leader has “also owned his speech”.

The prosecutor argued that since the suspect has admitted nobody can now raise an objection over the speech.

Lawyer Hasan said that the PTI leader tried to “spread hatred, levelled allegations against the government”, and termed ECP the coalition government’s “clerk”.

“Fawad’s statement was representative of a group,” he said, adding that a campaign is being run not only against the electoral body but all the top officials of the ECP.

He further added that the Election Commission’s role in the next few months is very important. “ECP’s job is to end corruption but Fawad was putting pressure,” he added.

The prosecutor said that it was “necessary” to search the PTI leader’s residence to confiscate his mobile phone and laptop.

He recalled that the duty magistrate in the last hearing dismissed the request seeking discharge from the case.

This is a developing story and is being updated with more details.

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