LAHORE: A Lahore court rejected the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment’s (ACE) request for PTI President Parvez Elahi’s physical remand in two cases pertaining to illegal appointments on Tuesday and instead sent him on 14-day judicial remand.
Elahi is among several PTI leaders and workers who have been arrested amid the state’s crackdown on the PTI leadership following the violent riots in the country after Imran’s first arrest on May 9.
He has been arrested multiple times since June 1 in several cases, with the count of his arrests exceeding 12 since then, according to the tally provided by one of his lawyers.
His latest arrest was made yesterday by the Punjab ACE in a case involving the appointment of Muhammad Khan Bhatti as his principal secretary during his tenure as the chief minister. The ACE alleged that the appointment of Bhatti was not in accordance with the law.
Anti-corruption officials presented him before a district court today where judicial magistrate Imran Abid presided over the proceedings.
Elahi’s counsels, Amir Saeed and Rana Intizar, objected to the ACE’s request for their client’s remand.
Saeed, in particular, objected to the ACE lawyer’s contentions for the PTI leader’s physical remand. “The prosecutor’s arguments do not pertain to the case in which they have come to seek his remand,” he contended.
At that, the ACE’s lawyer said they were seeking Elahi’s remand in two cases — one pertaining to Bhatti’s appointment and the other relating to alleged illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly.
Elahi was initially arrested in the case of recruitments to the Punjab Assembly on June 3. The case pertained to illegal recruitments of 12 Grade-17 officers in the provincial assembly, with Elahi being accused of getting the results of the testing service changed to select the candidates of his choice.
Elahi’s lawyer, Intizar, told the court today that the Lahore High Court (LHC) had already approved the PTI leader’s protective bail in the case.
But the ACE’s lawyer contended that the case of illegal appointments to the assembly was “a big scandal” and Elahi’s remand was needed for interrogation.
“The record of recruitments has to be recovered. Billions of rupees taken by Parvez Elahi in bribes have to be recovered,” the lawyer said.
At one point, Elahi’s counsel Intizar argued that the LHC had barred authorities from arresting his client in any case. “Yet, he was arrested several times in violation of court orders.”
He further said Elahi was in the ACE’s custody when the first information report (FIR) of the alleged illegal appointments at the Punjab Assembly was registered against him.
“The FIR is based on mala fide. No inquiry was conducted before the case was registered,” he argued, urging the court to dismiss the ACE’s request for Elahi’s remand in both cases.
“Both the cases are based on mala fide. [Elahi] should be discharged in these cases,” he said, adding, “All of Parvez Elahi’s problems would be resolved if he holds a press conference today.”
The lawyer contended that Elahi was facing “false cases”. After arguments by both sides, the court reserved its decision on the ACE’s request. It later dismissed the request and sent Elahi on 14-day judicial remand.
Following the court ruling, Elahi appealed to the court that he be sent to Adiala Jail. But ACE officials objected to it and said he should be kept at a prison in Lahore. However, the judge directed the official to shift Elahi to Adiala Jail.