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Police officials escort the former information minister Fawad Chaudhry to leaving after hearing in a court in Islamabad on January 25, 2023. — Online 

A local court in Islamabad on Friday reserved its verdict on the police’s plea seeking an extension of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry’s physical remand in a sedition case filed against him.

Following the end of the two-day physical remand, Fawad was produced before the court where the prosecutor requested the court to extend the physical remand for further investigations.

Fawad was arrested from his Lahore residence in the wee hours of Wednesday after he publicly “threatened” the members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and their families in a media talk a day earlier.

He was then taken to Islamabad, where the police were granted a two-day remand contrary to the appeal seeking eight-day physical remand. His arrest drew strong criticism within the federal government’s ranks — which, although, has denied involvement.

During the hearing today, the prosecutor told Judicial Magistrate Waqas Ahmad Raja that Fawad is spreading hatred against the constitutional institution and is also trying to create unrest.

“[His] statement is a threat to the lives of ECP’s members,” the prosecutor said informing the court that Fawad’s voice has been matched and his photogrammetry test has to be carried out in Lahore. 

Lawyers Babar Awan, Faisal Chaudhry and Ali Bukhari were also present in court.

The investigating officer (IO) highlighted that the court approved the remand at 12am for two days, therefore “practically” the police had only one day.

It should be noted that following the order of the court, the capital’s police shifted the former federal information minister to the Counter-Terrorism Department’s (CTD) complex in Sector H-11.

The police — during the time that the verdict was reserved — also took Fawad to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), where he underwent a medical checkup and was declared fit.

The former federal minister vehemently denied all charges and demanded the case’s dismissal as it is “fraud and the FIR is a sham”.

The ECP’s counsel told the magistrate that Fawad’s statement is “on record” and the PTI leader has “also owned his speech”.

The prosecutor argued that since the suspect has admitted nobody can now raise an objection over the speech.

Lawyer Hasan said that the PTI leader tried to “spread hatred, levelled allegations against the government”, and termed ECP the coalition government’s “clerk”.

“Fawad’s statement was representative of a group,” he said, adding that a campaign is being run not only against the electoral body but all the top officials of the ECP.

He further added that the Election Commission’s role in the next few months is very important. “ECP’s job is to end corruption but Fawad was putting pressure,” he added.

The prosecutor said that it was “necessary” to search the PTI leader’s residence to confiscate his mobile phone and laptop.

He recalled that the duty magistrate in the last hearing dismissed the request seeking discharge from the case.

This is a developing story and is being updated with more details.

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