LHC grants protective bail to Parvez Elahi in terrorism, corruption cases

Published May 2, 2023
Former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi speaks to the media outside the Lahore High Court on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi speaks to the media outside the Lahore High Court on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

Former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi on Tuesday was granted protective bail in two cases — one filed by the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) and the other linked to terrorism — in separate hearings conducted at the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Elahi, represented by lawyer Ishtiaq A Khan, was granted bail in the corruption case until May 15 and in the terrorism case until May 4.

Elahi had moved the high court after the province’s anti-corruption and police officials carried out a late-night raid at his Lahore residence to arrest him on Friday. However, they were unable to arrest him.

A separate raid was carried out early Tuesday morning at Elahi’s residence in Gujrat, his son Moonis said on Twitter.

Graft case

During the graft case hearing on Elahi’s petition, Justice Asjad Javaid Ghural ordered the PTI leader to approach the relevant court to address the charges against him.

His lawyer told the court that Elahi was previously granted protective bail in the same case by the LHC.

“They are filing cases every day,” Elahi’s lawyer said, at which the judge directed him to apply for protective bail afresh in any new cases registered against his clients.

Terrorism case

Elahi’s petition against the terrorism charge, invoked in an FIR filed after the raid on Elahi’s residence, was heard by a two-member bench, led by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi.

The PTI leader requested the court to grant him protective bail for a week. The judge, however, granted it until May 4, ordering him to approach the relevant court.

“The relevant court is nearby,” Justice Najafi said.

During the hearing, Elahi’s lawyer contended that despite a court granting protective bail to his client on April 27 in the corruption case, a raid was carried out by the ACE at his residence.

At that, the judge enquired whether the raid team was shown the court order for Elahi’s bail.

“We did not have the written order, but the prosecutor general spoke with the team,” the lawyer informed the court.

Elahi blames caretaker CM Naqvi, ACE additional DG for raid

Speaking outside the LHC after the approval of his bail, Elahi blamed Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi and ACE Additional Director General Waqas Hassan for the raid at his residence, claiming that the ACE official had carried out the action on orders of the “Ahmedi lobby”.

“He (Hassan) is the person who is actually representing Ahmedis while we are representing the finality of prophethood,” Elahi said.

The PTI president said elections would be held at any cost, predicting that his party would sweep the polls while the PML-N would lose out.

LHC seeks report from police, ACE

Earlier today, the LHC directed the Punjab police chief and the director general of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment to submit a detailed report regarding the late-night raid at Elahi’s residence in Lahore.

The orders came during the hearing of a petition filed by Elahi’s son, Rasikh Elahi, against the raid at his father’s home and were issued by a two-member bench headed by Justice Sardar Sarfraz Dogar.

The government of Punjab through the chief secretary, the Punjab ACE director general and additional director general, the Lahore senior superintendent of police, and the Model Town superintendent were made respondents in the case.

LHC’s Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar presided over the hearing, during which Rasikh’s lawyer contended that raids were being conducted daily on the orders of the ACE and the Punjab police.

“Raids are being conducted daily after new first information reports (FIRs) are registered,” he said.

The lawyer urged the court to stop authorities from arresting Elahi and registering another case against him until a detailed report was submitted. However, the request was rejected by the court.

“Under what law can the court bar an arrest?” Justice Dogar asked. “How can we accept what you are saying until a report is submitted?”

Rasikh’s lawyer went on to say that another raid was conducted at Elahi’s home in Gujrat last night.

The court then sought a detailed report from the Punjab ACE director general and the Punjab inspector general, while also directing the two to work within the ambit of the law.

The plea

The petition, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said that Elahi had been granted protective bail in a case registered against him by the ACE on April 27. Despite the clear orders of the court, the respondents raided the petitioner’s home on April 28 “with 300 to 400 policemen armed with sticks” and broke down the main gate with an armoured vehicle.

It said that officials entered without any search warrants and “in such a violent manner as if an operation was being conducted in the area of Waziristan or tribal areas of Punjab”.

It further said that the entire ordeal was broadcasted by the media creating a “sense of fear” among the public at large and at least 30 servants had also been arrested.

The petition contended that the raids on the petitioner’s home were made without any lawful authority and were, therefore, illegal. It further said that the petitioners had conducted the raids with “malafide intent and ulterior motives” for the sake of political victimisation on the orders of the ruling parties.

“The raids on the house of the petitioner with the purpose of arresting the petitioner’s father have been made in violations of provisions of [law] as the respondents were not competent to arrest the petitioner’s father till May 6 as the petitioner’s father was granted bail by this honourable court …”

The plea urged the court to declare the raid on April 28 illegal and in violation of the law and the fundamental rights of the petitioner. It also urged the court to pass an order for clearing Zahoor Elahi Road from “illegal occupation of police” and to direct the respondents to vacate the house of the petitioner, and to bar authorities from arresting raiding the petitioner’s home and attempting to arrest Elahi till the plea was decided.

Raid on Elahi’s home

ACE and police officials had raided Elahi’s residence in Lahore to arrest him late on Friday night. The raiding team 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 also took some women into custody.

TV footage showed that riot police officials entered the house and used batons to beat the employees of the Elahi family.

The police officials thoroughly searched the house but could not find Elahi. They 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.

The search operation continued until at least 2am on Saturday and the police failed to lay hands on Elahi, who was said to not be in the house. The ACE said that its Gujra­nwala team had arrived at Elahi’s house to arrest him in a corruption case.

Subsequently, Punjab pol­ice had registered a case against the ex-Punjab chief minister and others on terrorism cha­rges for allegedly atta­cking ACE officials.

Interestingly, the government — which is currently involved in crucial talks with the PTI regarding elections in the court — had distanced itself from the police action.

In a phone call with PTI’s Shah Mahmood 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.

Meanwhile, Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi said on Sunday he was “appalled” to know that the police had stormed into the home of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, whose Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) party is an ally of the ruling coalition, to arrest Elahi.

Responding to a tweet of PML-Q chief’s son Chaudhry Salik Husain, Naqvi assured, “No illegal action will be allowed by anyone”.

On Monday, Shujaat had condemned the police raid on Elahi’s residence, calling it unacceptable as his home is located next to his cousin and was also breached during the raid.

“This is completely una­c­ceptable,” he said while speaking to journalists and demanded that all those behind the raid be caught and held accountable.

The PML-Q chief said he had asked his sons to exercise patience, adding he would speak on the matter at length later.

Emphasising that he did not want to say anything that could harm national politics as the country was already facing a plethora of crises, Shujaat said, “When the police arrived at Parvez Elahi’s residence, they were informed that he was at Chaudhry Shujaat’s place. The policemen then barged into my house.”

The veteran politician said his sons tried to stop the police from entering the house, but they entered forcibly. He said police also smashed windowpanes of the door but could not get it opened.

He said that when police were asked about the reason for raid, they would say it was about billions of rupees commission taken for grant of contracts for construction of roads in Gujrat, as well as bribe from an international firm.

Shujaat clarified that his sons had nothing to do with these cases.

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