Pakistani senator arrested for anti-army chief tweet
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani senator said Thursday he was arrested, stripped and tortured for tweeting about the country’s army chief.
Azam Khan Swati, a senior member of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party, was taken into custody in the early hours of the morning.
A court is giving the Federal Investigation Agency two days to question Azami over what it called in charging documents, his “obnoxious and intimidating” message against Gen. Qamer Javed Bajwa, state institutions and other government officials.
Investigators have asked for Swati to be held in custody for eight days. But his lawyer, Babar Awan, said the court allowed only two days for the probe and ordered a medical examination as Swati complained about being tortured following his early-hours arrest.
“I have not violated any law or constitution, but just used the name of Bajwa,” Swati told reporters while being taken from the court. “I was arrested by the FIA but tortured by agencies, a known reference to the intelligence apparatus of the country.”
He said he wanted the country to know a lawmaker had been stripped of his clothes.
The FIA accuses him of a “mischievous act of subversion” to create a rift in the armed forces and to “harm the state of Pakistan,” according to a copy of charges obtained by The Associated Press.
In his tweet, Swati taunted Pakistan’s powerful army chief after a court acquitted Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son in a money laundering case on Wednesday, saying Bajwa had made the acquittal possible.
“Mr Bajwa congratulations to you and few with you. Your plan is really working and all criminals are getting free at cost of this country,” Swati tweeted. “With these thugs getting free, you have legitimized corruption. How you predict now the future of this country.”
The FIA registered a case against Swati under the cyber crime act, accusing him of trying to harm the country and an “attempt to create hatred in the minds of people against chief of army staff and Pakistan army.”
Swati is the third senior leader of Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party to be arrested by the FIA. Saifullah Khan Niazi and Hamid Zaman were arrested for their alleged involvement in prohibited funding to the party.
Khan was ousted from the government through a no-trust motion in parliament in April. He alleged a US-hatched plot, in which Sharif’s parties and others brought down his government. Sharif and the United States have denied the allegations.
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