An Islamabad district and sessions court on Monday sent PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on a 14-day judicial remand in a case over alleged incitement of violence against a constitutional institution — the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The former federal minister was taken into custody on January 25 after a first information report (FIR) against him was registered at Islamabad’s Kohsar police station on a complaint by ECP Secretary Umar Hameed for allegedly threatening the ECP members and their families in a speech.
Chaudhry was produced in the court today upon expiry of a second two-day physical remand given to the police.
Following the hearing today, Judicial Magistrate Waqas Ahmed Raja sent Chaudhry to jail on a judicial remand, rejecting the prosecution’s plea of extending his physical remand for a third time.
Faisal Chaudhry, Advocate Babar Awan, and Ali Bukhari were present in the courtroom as Chaudhry’s legal counsels. ECP’s lawyer Saad Hassan, State Prosecutor Adnan Ali, Investigation Officer (IO) Muhammad Ali and PTI leader Ali Nawaz were also in attendance.
Chaudhry was brought to the courtroom later in the afternoon after the case’s hearing had been postponed till 3pm as the police cited road blockages in the capital as the reason for failing to present Chaudhry at 11:30am as originally scheduled.
While the state prosecutor asked for the extension of the PTI leader’s physical remand — saying it still needed to obtain Chaudhry’s “cell phone, laptop and other devices” — the ECP lawyer did not ask for the same.
When the hearing resumed at 3pm, the judge asked the state prosecutor to produce Chaudhry as per the time decided. Upon the lapse of the said time, Awan said a contempt case was warranted for failure to oblige with the decision.
The judge warned state prosecutor Adnan of issuing a notice to the senior superintendent of police and the inspector general if the delay continued.
Shortly after, the police reached the court along with Chaudhry, upon which Faisal requested to have his client’s handcuffs taken off, and the court accepted the plea.
At one point, Adnan requested the court to extend Chaudhry’s physical remand. Upon this, the judge asked Adnan about the “importance of conducting a photogrammetric test” in the present case.
The prosecutor responded, “The purpose of a photogrammetric test is to identify one’s actual personality.” He further said he still required access to Chaudhry’s electronic gadgets.
However, Hassan — the ECP lawyer — did not request an extension in the physical remand. He clarified, “We only had to conduct Fawad Chaudhry’s photogrammetric test, which has been performed.”
Meanwhile, Advocate Awan, while presenting his arguments on Chaudhry’s behalf, said, “The prosecution has made a joke out of Fawad Chaudhry’s case. Fawad is still standing by his statement.”
Addressing the prosecution, he said, “I don’t know who the prosecution wants to please. I don’t know which laptop the prosecution wants to obtain.”
Having listened to both sides’ arguments, Raja sent Chaudhry on a judicial remand.