Lahore court allows police to shift Fawad Chaudhry to Islamabad in ‘provocative speech’ case

by Tauqeer Abbas
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A court in Lahore allowed police on Wednesday to take PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry to Islamabad hours after he was arrested from his residence over provocative statement against the top electoral body.

The PTI stalwart was taken into custody in the wee hours of Wednesday after he was booked under sections 153A, 506 and 124 A of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint lodged by Election Commission of Pakistan Secretary Umer Hameed. Police produced Mr Chaudhry in court of Rana Muddasir in handcuffs at 10am and sought one-day transit remand as they wanted to shift him to Islamabad as the case was registered at the Kohsar police station.

In a short media talk, the PTI leader said security had been placed in a way as a “terrorist” was being brought to court, adding that he was unaware of the charges levelled against him. He also urged people to take to the street against the government. He said former South Africa president Nelson Mandela had also been booked in a sedition case.

During the hearing, the former information minister requested judge Rana Mudassir to provide him a copy of the FIR registered against him, which was accepted. His lawyer opposed the transit remand, saying the distance between Lahore and Islamabad was just four hours and there was no need of remand. Police should directly take his client to the federal capital and produce in court, he said.

The PTI leader also said he had filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) against his illegal detention. He requested the judge to not issue verdict on the transit remand plea until the LHC decides the case.

After hearing the arguments, the court allowed police to take the PTI leader to Islamabad and produce him before the relevant forum. It also ordered the medical examination of Mr Chaudhry. In line with the court orders, police took the PTI bigwig to the Services Hospital, Lahore, for medical examination. He would be shifted to Islamabad after the medical examination.

The sudden arrest of Mr Chaudhry has angered the PTI leaders including Hammad Azhar and Farrukh Habib who warned of launching countrywide protests and moving court against it.

The FIR

The PTI leader, according to the First Information Report (FIR), has been booked under sections 153A, 506 and 124 A of the PPC for allegedly threatening the ECP and its members in a televised interview on Tuesday. The FIR carries the excerpt of the former MNA’s statement wherein he alleged that the election commission had become a “Munshi” as the election commissioner signed things like a clerk after they were sent to him by the government.

Mr Chaudhry said those who would be involved in injustice to the PTI would be pursued until they were punished. He said people should pursue the elements who were deceiving public, to their houses. Expressing reservations about the appointments of some officials in the ECP Punjab ahead of elections, he said if these appointments were not rolled back, “we warn that the election commission and its members will have to pay back”.

The complainant said Fawad Chaudhry had threatened the chief election commissioner, members of the ECP and their families in his speech which he described as an attempt to create hurdles in the electoral process.

“The speech has created a permanent threat for the ECP members and their families,” he said, adding that the PTI leader had attempted to create differences between the government and the ECP. “It is a serious crime to influence the electoral process by issuing threats to the constitutional institutions,” he said, adding that such statements could lead to chaos in the country.

Source: Dunya News

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