Pakistan: FIA arrests PTI senator over tweet against Gen Bajwa

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested a senator of the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) early on Sunday morning, hours after he lashed out at army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Azam Swati, 74, asked Gen Bajwa, who will retire on Tuesday (November 29), to declare his assets before stepping down from office, at a PTI rally in Rawalpindi on Saturday.
The FIA arrested Swati from his
residence in Islamabad, for the second time, for allegedly tweeting against senior military officers. Later, the FIA produced him before a local court which approved his two-day physical remand.
An FIR registered against him stated that the PTI veteran started a “highly obnoxious campaign of intimidating tweets” against state institutions, including the army chief, “with mala fide intentions and ulterior motives”.
The FIR said that through these offensive tweets, the accused attempted to instigate army personnel from their allegiance to the state and from performing their duties as subordinates, adding that this was a “calculated and repeated attempt” by Swati.
The FIA first arrested him last month over a controversial tweet against Gen Bajwa. After his release on bail in October, the senator alleged that he was tortured in custody after first being stripped naked.
In the PTI power show on Saturday night, Swati delivered a fiery speech in which he again mentioned his alleged torture while asking a series of hard hitting questions from Gen Bajwa, including disclosure of his assets.
Imran Khan criticized the government after Swati’s arrest for the second time, saying he was “shocked and appalled at how rapidly we are descending into not just a banana republic but a fascist state”.
Slamming the state’s heavy-handedness, the former prime minister questioned how anyone could not understand the pain and suffering of senator Swati, who “underwent custodial torture and the blackmailing video of him and his conservative wife that was sent to his family”.
Imran regarded the Tweet triggering the arrest an expression of Swati’s “justifiable anger and frustration at the injustice meted out to him”.
Urging all quarters to “raise their voice against this state fascism”, Imran also criticized the Supreme Court for “keeping its doors closed” for Swati, “despite appeals by senators supporting him for over two weeks.

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