• PTI leader arrested by anti-corruption, police team as he tried to leave Gulberg residence
• Moonis vows to stand with PTI, party terms arrest ‘shameful’

LAHORE: A week-long police siege of the residence of PTI leader Parvez Elahi seemed to pay off on Thursday after a team of the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) and police managed to detain the former chief minister in a corruption case.

For more than one week, Zahoor Elahi Road in Gulberg, where Mr Elahi’s residence is located, was bloc­ked for traffic, causing great inconvenience to commuters. The police were deployed to make sure that no one from Mr Elahi’s residence could leave or enter the house without their knowledge.

On Thursday, the former chief minister along with his family members left his house in a bullet-proof car, but the police stopped it on Zahoor Elahi Road.

Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir claimed that the PTI leader resisted the arrest, but police managed to arrest him after breaking the front window of his vehicle.

“We already had the information that Mr Elahi would try to leave his house on Thursday. His car was intercepted and he was subsequently arrested,” he said, adding that the PTI president would be presented before an anti-corruption court on Friday (today) for a physical remand and his legal team be allowed access to him after that.

Media reports claimed that the PTI leader’s legal team would also attempt to seek post-arrest bail on Friday.

Earlier, the ACE had said it along with police cordoned off the Zahoor Elahi Road on the information that Mr Elahi was present somewhere in the area. However, during the search operation at his and adjoining residences a week ago, ACE failed to find him there.

A month ago, the ACE and the government received flak for using an armoured personnel vehicle to break open the main gate of Mr Elahi’s residence in a failed bid to round him up.

The ACE said that Mr Elahi had been shifted to its headquarters at Farid Kot House after his arrest. “Mr Elahi is wanted in a case related to taking kickbacks in different development projects in Gujrat. A few days ago, his pre-arrest bail was cancelled by the court, it added.

After the arrest, a medical test of the former CM was carried out at Services Hospital. Mr Elahi told ACE that he was a heart patient and requested the anti-graft body to call his personal physician.

“Absolutely shameful the way this regime keeps focusing on their fascism, instead of providing relief to people. The way they abducted and pushed former CM Punjab is not only shameful, but ridiculous too,” the PTI said in its response to the arrest of Mr Elahi.

Meanwhile, his son Moonis Elahi said they would continue to support Imran Khan despite the crackdown. “A series of crackdowns began in January and at that time, my father (Parvez Elahi) told me that even if he is arrested, we must stand with Imran Khan. Three days ago, my parents reiterated the same thing,” Mr Moonis said in a tweet following the arrest of his father.”

The former minister said his father had been arrested in false cases but “we are with Imran Khan and will remain with the party”.

It is learnt that Mr Elahi has been under “immense pressure from powerful quarters” to part ways with Imran Khan in the wake of May 9 riots. Former PTI minister Moonis Elahi expressed his resolve that he and his father would continue standing with the PTI and Imran Khan come what may.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2023

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