• LHC urged to restrain authorities from arresting former CM
• Imran says ‘enough is enough’, Dar ‘disowns’ late-night police action
LAHORE: Following a dramatic late-night raid on his residence, Punjab police on Saturday registered a case against former chief minister Parvez Elahi and others on terrorism charges for allegedly attacking officials of the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) officials on Friday.
A police and ACE raiding team had conducted a raid at Mr Elahi’s Gulberg residence, late on Friday night and arrested 12 people. The raiding party used an armoured vehicle to break open the main gate of the residence after facing resistance. However, the ACE team could not find Mr Elahi, even after thoroughly searching the house.
Separately on Saturday, Rasikh Elahi petitioned the Lahore High Court (LHC) to restrain authorities from arresting Mr Elahi until the expiry of his protective bail on May 6.
In his plea, the son of the former CM contended that his father was granted protective bail till May 6 by the high court on April 28 in a corruption case registered by the ACE.
However, on the same night, a team of the anti-graft body accompanied by a heavy contingent of anti-riot police attacked his family residence on Zahoor Elahi Road to arrest his father, the petitioner added.
According to the plea, police trespassed on Mr Elahi’s house and violated the sanctity of their home, which amounted to contempt of court. The petitioner pleaded that the ACE be directed to furnish details of all cases registered against the former chief minister so that a legal remedy could be availed. He also urged the court to restrain the anti-corruption body and the police from arresting Mr Elahi till the expiry of his protective bail.
He further asked the court to restrain the police from arresting any family member of Parvez Elahi and order police to clear Zahoor Elahi Road. The petition has been fixed for May 2 before Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar.
‘Enough is enough’
PTI chief Imran Khan strongly condemned the “illegal raid” on Parvez Elahi’s house and asserted that “enough is enough”. He said the Constitution, the Supreme Court’s verdicts, and the fundamental rights of the people were being disrespected, and the law of the jungle was being imposed in the country.
“We are seeing the dismantling of democracy in Pakistan before our eyes,” he said in a comment on the raid. He announced that he would present a roadmap to the nation on how to resist the destruction of the Constitution and democracy and added that the crackdown on the PTI was part of the alleged ‘London Plan’ to demoralise and crush the opposition party.
“They attacked my house and now [the] same [is] being done to Parvez Elahi by [the] cabal of crooks and handlers. “We did not even see such barbarism in Musharraf’s martial law,” he added.
“Has the state dared to break into the homes of the looters and money laundering Sharif and Zardari families in this manner? Enough is enough,” he warned.
Speaking to media persons after visiting the residence of Parvez Elahi, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the prime minister and the caretaker chief minister should “openly own or disown” the raid. “It will be strange if the PM and caretaker CM will stay aloof from their responsibilities,” he commented.
Mr Qureshi said PTI’s every worker was standing alongside Mr Elahi and added that all “those involved in the late-night raid did not even consider the help” the former chief minister extended to them during his tenures.
The PTI leader said the raid on the residence of Parvez Elahi was similar to the police action at Zaman Park, as police crashed the main gates and desecrated the sanctity of four walls and the women present inside. He urged the PTI workers to stay united and face this trying time and added this too shall pass.
Dar disowns raid
Separately, in a phone call with PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PML-N leader Ishaq Dar said the federal government had nothing to do with the raid on the house of the former Punjab CM. He expressed grave concerns and claimed that the police action was orchestrated by the caretaker government.
Mansoor Malik also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2023