A district and sessions court in Islamabad sent former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry on 14-day judicial remand on Wednesday in a bribery case.
The former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader was taken into custody last week and later handed over to the police for three-day physical remand.
Fawad is implicated in an FIR registered at Aabpaara Police Station on the complaint of a man named Zaheer, who accused the former minister of collecting Rs5 million from him in exchange for employment that was not given. The complainant further alleged Fawad threatened him and refused to return the money, according to police.
Fawad was produced before Judicial Magistrate Yasir Mahmood in an armoured vehicle amid stringent security.
His wife Hiba Chaudhry and lawyer Qamar Inayat Raja were present in court.
During the proceedings, the judicial magistrate granted Fawad permission to consult with his legal team after which he came to the rostrum.
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Fawad said that today was his third appearance before the court but the complainant had yet to appear. He asked whether the complainant had been threatened while adding that he is in police custody.
The former minister maintained that he had no connection with the complainant. “Arrest me if you want to. If money needs to be recovered, take Rs5,000 or Rs7,000 from me,” he said.
Meanwhile, the police submitted a written request seeking a five-day extension in Fawad’s physical remand.
The judicial magistrate reserved the verdict and later sent Fawad on judicial remand directing the police to produce the former minister before the court on November 22.
In its written order, the judicial magistrate noted that there appeared to be no justification to grant physical remand.
‘Need for dialogue between political parties’
Fawad, who was earlier being brought to court in handcuffs with his face covered with a black cloth, was able to speak to reporters ahead of the hearing today (Wednesday).
During his informal conversation with reporters, the former PTI leader said there is a need for dialogue among all the political parties in the country.
“After 50 years in politics, if this is how Nawaz Sharif wins next elections, what kind of a premier would he be?” asked Fawad. “Who will accept him as the prime minister?”
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He urged the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo and thrice ousted former premier to play his part in reducing the political temperature in the country. “Ayub Khan’s period was good from an economic point of view, but an election in 1965 became a noose around his neck,” he said. “Nawaz Sharif should play his part in reducing the political temperature as the country heads to polls.”
Fawad, formerly a close aide of ousted premier Imran Khan and a member of his cabinet, was among dozens of PTI leaders who quit the party in the aftermath of May 9 protests. After multiple arrests and several weeks in prison, Fawad left the party saying he was “taking a break from politics”.
He was later reported to have joined Jahangir Tareen’s Istekham-e-Pakistan but has yet to confirm such reports.
The case under which Fawad is currently arrested was registered on August 22, 2022, under Sections 109 (punishment of abetment if the Act abetted committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 341(punishment for wrongful restraint), and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, current and former PTI leaders Murad Saeed, Faisal Javaid Khan, Asad Umer, Raja Khurram Nawaz, Ali Nawaz Khan, Faisal Vawda, Shahzad Wasim, Sadaqat Ali Abbasi, Shibli Faraz, Saifullah Khan Niazi, Shehryar Afridi , Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Asad Qaiser, Zahir Abbas Khokhar, Ghulam Sarwar Khan and over 1,000 unidentified people were also reportedly booked in the FIR.