Swati steps down as federal minister

ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Science and Technology Azam Khan Swati on Thursday handed over his resignation to Prime Minister Imran Khan as he wanted to face the trial against him in the apex court in personal capacity and would stay away from ministerial slot till the verdict in the case.

Azam Swati met premier Khan and handed over his resignation to him and requested for his immediate acceptance as he did not want to give an impression of any sort of his ministerial influence in the ongoing case against him in the Supreme Court.

In a case of a feud with slum dwellers residing near his farm house, Swati had allegedly used his influence to get a case registered against the poor family and when IG Islamabad Police refused to screw the family out of the way, he had managed to get him (IG) transferred.

During the last hearing of the case in apex court, the Chief Justice, who was heading the bench, hinted at initiating the trial against him under Article 62 (1) (f), for his alleged meddling in the affairs of police and misuse of his office.

Under the said article of the Constitution, if proven guilty, the person would be disqualified for life to hold any public office. Former premier Nawaz Sharif was also disqualified under the same article of the Constitution.

Insiders in the government said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was under severe criticism from opposition parties and media for his inaction against Azam Swati even after the JIT constituted to probe the matter by apex court declared him guilty.

These sources said that actually Azam Swati was indirectly conveyed the message to step down from the ministerial slot till completion of trial as in this way he (Swati) would be out of media limelight and could secure some pity from the apex court.

On last hearing of the case in apex court when Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had hinted at his trial under Article 62 (1) (f), defence counsel Barrister Ali Zafar objected to it and said that in the case at hand this article of the constitution could not be applied.

On that, the apex court had appointed former attorney general Khalid Javed Khan and another eminent lawyer Faisal Siddiqui as amicus curiae to assist the court in the case.

After the quarrel with a slum dweller over trespassing of his cow in the farm house of Swati, the son of Swati managed to get registered a case against the family and even not spared a 12-year-old son of the poor Niaz Muhammad and managed him behind the bars.

Five people, including two women, were arrested for trespassing on the land and beating up Swati’s guards. They were released after a day’s detention as police said that a settlement had been reached between the minister and the detained family.

But when Swati pushed the IGP for further punitive action against them, he refused and finally Swati managed to get him transferred from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

But following the intervention of the apex court in the matter, not only the son of Niaz Muhammad was released by the police but the verbal transfer orders of IGP Islamabad were also suspended.

During the trial, SC had formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising officials of FIA, NAB and IB to probe the issue on November 2.

The JIT on November 29 submitted its report to the Supreme Court blaming Swati for misusing powers. The JIT, in its report, had said that allegations against the poor family lacked truth.

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