Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Senator Azam Khan Swati is back in the line of fire. He was arrested Sunday morning, November 27, 2022, for posting ‘highly obnoxious’ tweets against military officials, including the outgoing army chief.
This is Swati’s second arrest in two months by the FIA for using inappropriate language against the army officials on the social media.
Seemingly, Swati has decided to take the establishmenton. He has displayed some fistic ambitions. Will the 74-year-old senator put up a tough fight? “He will try to cut a deal with the establishment or quit politics,” says analyst Murtaza Solangi.
“The likes of Swati and [Shahbaz] Gill are pawns in his game of thrones,” he adds.
Swati reportedly used abusive language against General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Major General Faisal Naseer on Nov 26. According to the FIR, the senator stated that he would go after a senior military official at every forum.The report further states that Swati attempted to “provoke” the general public and personnel of armed forces by trying to create “a feeling of ill-will among the pillars of the state”.
“For Imran Khan profanities are a tool of power politics. He uses it to tame and terrorise his opponents. He is deploying his point men against the establishment to speak for him,” says senior journalist Syed TalatHussain.
On a similar charge, Swati was taken into custody on October 13, 2022 by the FIA’s cybercrime unit for tweeting against state institutions, including the army chief. After release, he alleged that he was stripped and tortured in custody.
Matters got more complicated as well as dirty earlier this month when we saw Swati crying at a press conference, revealing that his wife had received an intimate video featuring the couple — and since “the daughters and granddaughters of my country are listening, I cannot say any further.”
Azam Swati’s scheme is dangerous and his party head, Imran Khan, is standing right behind him. He tweeted on Sunday: “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?”
In a subsequent tweet he said, “His justifiable anger & frustration at the injustice meted out to him especially the doors of SC remaining closed to him despite over a fortnight of appeals by Senators in support of him. So he tweets & is arrested again. Everyone must raise their voice against this state fascism.”
Imran Khan is currently treading on rickety ground. His Long March was a non-starter. His announcement to resign from assemblies, many analysts believe, is a mere threat. He did not get an army chief of his choice. Still, he is explosive in defending Swati’s antics.
“Imran is defending his senator even though he has softened his ‘neutral’ narrative. Is there an agenda?” asks TV presenter Nadia Naqi.
Political analyst Murtaza Solangi says, “Imran is a notorious user and abuser. He will use anybody and everybody to push and shove the establishment to get his pound of flesh.”
Senior journalist Syed Talat Hussain says, “For Imran Khan profanities are a tool of power politics. He uses it to tame and terrorise his opponents. He is deploying his point men against the establishment to speak for him. He does not care what cost they pay — as long he is able to get his message across to them.”
In Swati’s outbursts, Hussain adds, “he [Imran] sees a tailor-made opportunity to push his abuse-and-achieve strategy”.
Where this cacophony of reactions will end is anyone’s guess. But the reaction by PTI supporters have been harsh to say the least. They have been blaming the army chief and the establishment for persecuting Swati for his bold remarks at PTI’s Saturday rally that ended the Long March.
The social media campaigns continue with much intensity including the hashtag #bajwa_traitor was trending on Twitter on Sunday.