Punjab Police on Saturday registered a case against former chief minister Parvez Elahi and others, claiming that its officials were “attacked with stones, batons and petrol” during a raid on the PTI leader’s house in Lahore to arrest him in a corruption case the previous night.

The raiding team, which included officials of Anti-Corruption Establish­ment (ACE) and police, had used an armoured vehicle to break open the main gate of the former Punjab chief minister’s Gulberg residence and arrested 12 people, mostly his employees, from the house. Female police officers had also taken some women into custody.

The police officials had thoroughly searched the house but were unable to find Elahi. They had also tried to force their entry into the adjoining residence of PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, but they were resisted by Shujaat’s sons.

A first information report (FIR) was lodged today at Lahore’s Ghalib Market Police Station invoking Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, and Section 324 (attempted murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 109 (abetment), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 212 (harbouring offender), 427, 434 and 440 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

According to the FIR — a copy of which is available with Dawn.com — registered on the complaint of a duty officer, when the police arrived at Elahi’s residence to make the arrest, his employees “locked the house from the inside, while a countless” number of people present inside threatened the raiding team, pelted them with stones, and even doused petrol on them, causing a fire to break out“.

As a result, the complainant claimed, more police contingents were summoned to control the situation and an APC van was used to gain entry into the house.

According to the FIR, Elahi used the rear entrance of the house to escape as his supporters and workers “baton-charged the police party”.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry condemned the raid on Elahi’s house and said that the party will hold a meeting today to decide whether or not to continue the ongoing talks with the government regarding the election date.

“The attack on Parvez Elahi’s house, keeping Ali Amin Gandapur in wrongful confinement despite being granted bail and workers’ arrests are making the negotiation process meaningless,” he tweeted.

“If the government’s negotiation team cannot play any role in keeping the atmosphere calm even after assurances, then how will it make big decisions?” Fawad asked.

“We will make the decision of continuing the negotiation process or not in a meeting today presided by Imran Khan.”

Speaking to the media in Lahore today, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his party wanted matters to move forward within the ambit of the Constitution despite the government’s failed attempt to arrest the PTI president last night by breaking into his house.

Addressing the raid at Elahi’s house, Qureshi urged the government to either come forward and accept their actions or disown them instead of pinning the blame on a third party.

He also highlighted that Pakistan Democratic Movement head Maulana Fazlur Rehman was opposing the negotiations whereas Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was leading them.

“Now the coalition parties have to decide which way they want to head towards,” Qureshi said. “If they want to move the negotiations forward, they should convince the maulana and make Khawaja Asif understand.”

Elahi’s son challenges raid in LHC

Meanwhile, Elahi’s son Rasikh Elahi, today challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) the raid at his father’s house.

The petition — a copy of which is available with Dawn.com — made the Punjab government, ACE director general and additional director general, Lahore Inspector General Dr Usman Anwar and senior superintendent of police, and Model Town superintendent of police respondents in the case.

Filed by Advocate Amir Saeed Rawn and Afsar Raza Khan, the petition asked the LHC to declare the raid “illegal and violative of the law as well as fundamental rights of the petitioner” and to direct the respondents to stop it.

It further asked the court to issue an “order to clear Zahoor Elahi Road from illegal occupation of police” and sought directions for the respondents to vacate the petitioner’s house.

The plea also asked the LHC to direct the Punjab government to “take strict action against public servants who have directly been part of the illegal raid and have misused their powers”, and to stop them from doing so.

The petition noted that the respondents raided Elahi’s house with 300 to 400 policemen armed with sticks, breaking the main gate of the house with police van“.

It said the police broke “all gates of three houses of Chaudhry Parvez Ellahi, Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain house and petitioner Rasikh Ellahi house and entered in the house without any search warrants”.

In his petition, Rasikh further said when the police raided the house, he was communicated that his father had been granted protective bail by the LHC which was also communicated to him through the Prosecution General Office.

The petitioner quoted the ACE additional director general as saying: “I will deal with the contempt proceeding, will also see the courts. Right now, have to fulfil the orders given.”

Late night drama

The Anti-Corruption Establish­ment said that its Gujra­nwala team had arrived at Elahi’s house to arrest him in a corruption case.

While Elahi’s legal team said that his pre-arrest bail had already been taken from a court until May 6, the ACE team insisted that Elahi was required in a new case and they would not leave without arresting the PTI leader.

According to Dawn, Elahi’s lawyers assured the ACE officials about the bail and also connected them with a court official by phone, but the raising team refused to budge.

“Punjab police is at our residence to arrest my father right now in a case for which he got bail today. His bail hearing was covered by all media outlets,” Moonis Elahi, ex-CM’s son and a former federal minister, tweeted around midnight.

“Strongly condemn the illegal raid on Pervez Elahi’s home with no respect to the women and family members present,” PTI chief Imran Khan tweeted past midnight on Saturday.

“We are seeing the dismantling of democracy in Pak before our eyes. There is no respect for Constitution, SC verdicts, or fundamental rights of the [people] — only law of jungle,” the former premier said.

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