Court accepts police request for Fawad’s physical remand extension

A district and sessions court on Saturday accepted the plea submitted by the Islamabad Police challenging the judicial magistrate’s ruling that sent PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry to Adiala Jail on a 14-day judicial remand.
Announcing the reserved verdict, the court directed the police to produce the PTI leader before the judicial magistrate court for further proceedings into the plea.
Meanwhile, Sessions Judge Tahir Mehmood Khan rejected Fawad’s petition seeking a discharge from the sedition case registered against him on the complaint of ECP Secretary Omar Hameed.
The district and sessions court judge had ordered the authorities to present Fawad before the court by 12:30pm, however, the police failed to produce him at the given time.
After a delay of over an hour, the police presented the PTI leader before the court. On the orders of the sessions judge, Fawad was uncuffed inside the premises of the courtroom.
While the police requested the sessions judge to “nullify” the judicial magistrate’s decision and extend Fawad’s physical remand for further investigation, the PTI leader submitted a plea asking the court to discharge him from the case.
The petition submitted by Fawad’s lawyers on his behalf stated that the PTI leader should be discharged from the case instead of being sent on a judicial remand. Sessions judge Tahir issued notices to the prosecutor and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Fawad — who is facing sedition charges for publicly “threatening” the members of the electoral body in a media talk — was arrested from his Lahore residence on Wednesday after a case was registered against him at the Kohsar Police Station.
He was presented before the court on Friday after the expiry of his physical remand, however, the prosecution’s request for an extension was turned down by Judicial Magistrate Waqas Ahmed Raja.
Upon resumption of the hearing after multiple adjournments, Prosecutor Adnan — presenting his arguments — informed the court that Fawad’s photogrammetry test need to be performed, for which his video had been acquired.
Sessions judge Tahir was hearing pleas submitted by Fawad and police against the Judicial Magistrate Waqas Ahmed Raja’s order rejecting their plea seeking an extension in the PTI leader’s physical remand.
“Fawad needs to be taken to Lahore for the photogrammetry test,” Adnan said, adding that they also need to recover his mobile phone, laptop and other electronic devices.
He maintained that the devices need to be analysed to find out the “mastermind behind Fawad’s hateful remarks against the ECP”.
The prosecutor informed the court that the investigation officer (IO) had requested a seven-day physical remand. Urging the court to “nullify” the judicial magistrate’s verdict, he said that the ruling didn’t mention the photogrammetry test which is what the IO has been demanding.
Supporting his argument, prosecutor Adnan mentioned that “enough electronic material [content aired on electronic media]” against the PTI leader is available. “Fawad Chaudhry has also owned his statement against the members of the election body,” he informed the court.
The prosecutor opposed Fawad’s request for discharge from the case arguing that the PTI leader can’t be discharged as he has owned his statement.
During the course of the proceeding, Fawad’s lawyer Babar Awan and ECP’s lawyer engaged in a heated argument as the former told the latter not to interfere “unnecessarily” in the proceedings.
Fawad’s counsel informed that the court that the former information minister was kept in Adiala Jail, adding that he sought permission to meet his client three days ago, however, he wasn’t allowed as yet.
“The way Fawad was brought in the court was a violation of human rights,” Awan said, lamenting that he wasn’t even allowed to meet his legal team.
Following a brief pause as the police brought handcuffed Fawad inside the session judge’s chamber with a black cloth covering his head, Awan continued his arguments questioning the prosecutor about the part where the PTI leader threatened the ECP officials.