PTI leader Azam Swati addressing a press conference in Islamabad, on November 1, 2022. — Twitter/PTI


PTI leader Azam Swati addressing a press conference in Islamabad, on November 1, 2022. — Twitter/PTI
  • IHC asks petitioner (Centre) to satisfy court on jurisdiction of trial court in Azam Swati’s case.  
  • Special courts can only deal with cases lodged under the provisions of the PECA, argues Advocate Raja Rizwan Abbasi. 
  • “Special Judge central exceeded his powers in Swati’s case,” says the lawyer.  

ISLAMABAD: In connection with the Centre’s plea seeking the cancellation of PTI leader Azam Swati’s bail in the case of the controversial tweet, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday asked it to satisfy the court on the jurisdiction of the trial court.

IHC’s Justice Aamer Farooq heard the Centre’s petition challenging the trial court’s verdict granting bail to Swati in the case of the controversial tweet.

During the course of proceedings, Advocate Raja Rizwan Abbasi, the counsel of the federal government, argued that the special courts can only deal with cases lodged under the provisions of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA).

“Special Judge central exceeded his powers in Swati’s case”, he added.

The court, however, sought more assistance from the petitioner over the point related to the “trial court’s jurisdiction” and adjourned the hearing for one week.

Govt files plea in IHC seeking bail cancellation

A day earlier, the ruling coalition moved the IHC seeking the cancellation of Swati’s bail in the case.

The federal government filed the plea in the IHC through Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Technical Officer Anees-ur-Rehman.

In its plea, the government mentioned that Special Judge Central Raja Asif Mehmood had exceeded his authority and granted bail to Swati.

The judge had granted bail to the senior PTI leader last month against surety bonds worth Rs1 million, more than a week after the anti-corruption watchdog had arrested him.

Senator Swati was taken into custody by the FIA’s Cybercrime Wing (CCW) from his home in Islamabad on October 13 after registering a case against him over his controversial tweets.

“The court was competent only to the extent of PECA 2016 and not other sections of PPC but, while exercising powers on all sections, the court travelled beyond jurisdiction. Hence, the impugned order is illegal,” the plea said.

“That learned judge has ignored the above-said provision and passed an order in a slipshod manner and in fact tried to escape the above-said provision of law, hence, the order is not sustainable and without jurisdiction.”

In light of the arguments, the government requested the IHC to accept the petition at the earliest and the bail granted under Sections 109 (punishment of abetment if the Act abetted committed In consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment), 131 (Abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty), 500 (punishment for defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) be revoked.

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