A district and sessions court in Islamabad granted the police a one-day physical remand of former minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday in a case pertaining to financial fraud.
The court had earlier allowed a two-day physical remand which ended on Tuesday.
The former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader was allegedly taken into custody based on an FIR registered on the complaint of a man named Zaheer, who claimed Fawad took Rs5 million from him in exchange for a job.
However, the former federal minister did not follow through on the promise of employment and refused to return the money, alleged Zaheer. He further claimed that Fawad used his armed guards to threaten him with dire consequences if he continued to press for the money.
On Tuesday, Fawad was produced before the court amid tight security with his hands bound and face covered with a black cloth.
State prosecutor Adnan Ali and defence counsels Ali Bukhari, Faisal Chaudhry and Qamar Inayat appeared before the court. Chaudhry’s wife also attended the hearing.
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As the hearing commenced, the defence urged the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the police for covering Fawad’s face despite orders issued at the previous hearing. “He is a former minister and a Supreme Court lawyer,” said lawyer Faisal Chaudhry.
He further requested the judicial magistrate to grant Fawad permission to meet his wife and other family members.
The prosecutor stated before the court that Fawad was not cooperating with the police. He shared the case details mentioning the allegations made by the complainant and sought a five-day extension in remand.
The police have to conduct an identification parade and recover the weapon and the money, he added.
Fawad’s lawyer Bukhari objected to the request and read out the FIR in court. “The case registered against my client is blind. There is no witness in this case,” he argued. The case was registered on a mere accusation, he added.
He further asked whether there had been any progress in the investigation in the two days the former minister was in police custody.
Meanwhile, Inayat, urged the court to assess whether Fawad’s arrest was based on “political victimisation”. He contended that the case was registered through the incorrect use of law.
The court reserved its verdict afer completion of arguments. Later, the court granted the police one-day physical remand.
On November 4, dozens of Islamabad Police personnel apprehended Fawad while he was having breakfast in a park adjacent to his residence.
The former PTI leader’s wife, Hiba Chaudhry, later confirmed on X (formerly Twitter) that her husband had been arrested, and his whereabouts were “unknown”. Fawad’s brother, Faisal Chaudhry, also confirmed the news.
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In response to a plea filed against his arrest, Magistrate Ahmed Shehzad Gondal of the Kohsar police station had directed the police to submit a report regarding the matter.
On Sunday, the capital’s police presented the politician in the court of Duty Magistrate Abbas Shah amid heightened security.
The prosecutor requested the court to remand Fawad in custody for five days to facilitate the recovery of the money and weapons allegedly in Fawad’s possession. Fawad’s counsel opposed the request.
The duty magistrate later remanded Fawad to police custody for two days.
The court further directed the police to arrange a medical examination for Fawad both prior to and after his custody remand and instructed that he be brought to court on Tuesday.
Fawad, once regarded as one of the hawks in the PTI, announced his departure from the former ruling party on May 24, just weeks after authorities initiated a heavy-handed crackdown against people, mostly PTI leaders, workers, and sympathizers who had allegedly committed acts of vandalism following the arrest of PTI Chairperson Imran Khan on May 9.
The former federal minister, who initially expressed his plan to take a break from politics during his May 24 news conference, was soon spotted in meetings of disgruntled PTI leaders who later announced the formation of a new party, the IPP.