Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Swati was arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning for tweeting against Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Swati tweeted, “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. With these thugs getting free, you have legitimised corruption. How you predict now the future of this country (sic).”
Speaking to reporters outside a sessions court later in the day, Swati said that he was arrested for “taking one name — of Bajwa — and that is the violation”.
When asked who arrested him, he said it was the FIA. When pressed about the case, he alleged he was tortured by “agencies”. “A parliamentarian has been unclothed,” he said. “I am telling the nation.”
Swati’s tweet came after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz were acquitted in a high-profile money laundering case yesterday.
The first information report registered at the FIA’s Cyber Crime Reporting Centre in Islamabad, mentions that Swati tweeted with “Malafide intentions & ulterior motives” against “State Institutes of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its Senior Government Functionaries including Chief of The Army Staff of Pakistan Army”, reports Dawn.
The FIR adds that such “Intimidating tweet/s of blaming and naming through Twitter account i.e., @AzamKhanSwatiPK, is a mischievous act of subversion to create a rift between personnel/s of The Armed Forces and an attempt to harm the State of Pakistan”.
Through the aforementioned tweet, the criminal complaint says, the accused “undermined the Judicial System of the country and also attempted to seduce Army Personnel/s from their allegiance to their duties as subordinates.
“This is calculated attempt to create hatred in the mind of people and Army Personnel/s against COAS and Pakistan Army and also created distrust towards Judicial System. In such intimidating Tweet/s, the accused Muhammad Azam Khan Swati has attempted to provoke general public and Personnel/s of Armed Forces by trying to create a feeling of ill-will among pillars of the State,” it said.
It alleges Swati violated privacy and intimidated state institutions, by using false information, “Which is likely to incite, any officer, soldier, sailor, or Airman in the Army, Navy or Air Force of Pakistan to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty as such and is also likely to cause fear or alarm in the public and may induce / incite anyone to commit an offence against the State or the State Institution/s or public tranquillity”.