Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senator Azam Swati was detained for the second time early on Sunday during a raid at his home by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing Islamabad team for reportedly tweeting disparaging remarks about high military personnel.
In response to recent “controversial” tweets reportedly directed against government officials, including the chief of the army staff, the cybercrime wing filed a first information report (FIR) against Swati on November 26.
According to the report, the PTI leader undertook a “very offensive campaign of frightening tweets” against government entities, including the army chief, “with wrong intentions and ulterior motivations.”
PTI Chairman Imran Khan tweeted about Swati’s detention and expressed amazement and outrage at how quickly the country is turning into a fascist state rather than just a banana republic.
I am shocked & appalled at how rapidly we are descending into not just a banana republic but a fascist state. How can anyone not understand the pain & suffering Senator Swati underwent with custodial torture & blackmailing video of him & his conservative wife sent to his family?
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 27, 2022
PTI General Secretary Asad Umar commented on the incident in a tweet, saying the senator’s behaviour during the arrest today demonstrated “that he is fighting for a principle.”
The dignified manner in which azam swati conducted himself as he was arrested today shows he is fighting for a principle. You can disagree with his choice of words or even his views, but you cannot disagree with him that whatever happens must do so within ambit of law.
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) November 27, 2022
PTI leader Shireen Mazari tweeted in response to Swati’s arrest that it “seems freedom of speech in Pakistan today is reserved for the powerful State.”
Senator Azam Swati arrested again by FIA after he spoke at our Azadi March where he asked some questions & spoke abt what hapened to him & his family. Is that a crime? Did the pussilanimous Senate Chairman again give his approval for this arrest? Fascism. #ReleaseAzamSwati pic.twitter.com/MMBWqvWm13
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) November 27, 2022
Earlier, the senator was detained for over ten days following his detention on October 13 before being granted bail by the district and sessions court in Islamabad on October 22.