PTI’s Parvez Elahi rearrested once again hours after IHC suspends detention under MPO

Published September 5, 2023
PTI President Parvez Elahi while being rearrested on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI President Parvez Elahi while being rearrested on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI President Parvez Elahi while being rearrested on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI President Parvez Elahi while being rearrested on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

PTI President Parvez Elahi was rearrested on Tuesday once again hours after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended his detention under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) and directed his release.

He has now been arrested at least 11 times in various cases since the start of June and after a statewide crackdown was launched against the PTI in the aftermath of the May 9 violence.

Following his latest arrest today, the Islamabad police said that Elahi was detained in a case registered at the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) police station.

The PTI shared footage of Elahi’s arrest and criticised the authorities for his latest arrest.

“Absolutely shameful how courts orders keeps getting disrespected by the fascist regime. Parvez Elahi’s crime is standing for Pakistan, crime is not leaving PTI despite massive pressure,” the PTI posted on social media platform X in its condemnation of the arrest.

Reacting to the development during a media talk in Islamabad, Elahi’s lawyer Sardar Abdul Raziq Khan said: “I think all limits have been crossed. This is injustice with the country and its institutions and equivalent to making a mockery of the law and Constitution.”

The lawyer said as soon as he and Elahi sat inside their car outside the jail, “some people present there blocked our way, forcefully opened our car’s door and made me, my driver and associate step out”. Meanwhile, Elahi was “abducted” and taken away, he added.

The FIR

The first information report (FIR) against Elahi was registered at the CTD police station on March 18 on the complaint of Ramna police Station House Officer Malik Rasheed.

The case pertained to the clashes on that day between Islamabad Police and PTI workers outside the Judicial Complex.

The case was lodged under Sections 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 380 (theft in dwelling house, etc), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 427 (mischief causing damage amounting to Rs50), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage), 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

March 18’s events were marred by clashes between the police and PTI workers amid party chairman Imran Khan’s appearance at the Judicial Complex in a hearing for the Toshakhana case.

The Islamabad police had alleged that party workers had shelled the Judicial Complex and set fire to a police post. In turn, the PTI had also accused the police of shelling Imran’s vehicle.

IHC orders Elahi’s release, suspends MPO detention

Earlier in the day, the IHC suspended Elahi’s detention under MPO Section 3 and ordered his release.

On Friday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had ordered that the former Punjab chief minister be released along with a restraining order against his possible arrest by any agency or preventive detention.

However, hours after he was released from Adiala Jail, an Islamabad police team, assisted by the Punjab police, had intercepted a white SUV near the FCC underpass in which Elahi was travelling to his house along with lawyer Sardar Latif Khosa.

The police personnel had shifted Elahi into a white car with no licence plate. The car drove him to Islamabad. Visuals of the arrest drama had gone viral on social media.

According to the capital police, Elahi was taken into custody on orders of the district magistrate under Section 3 of the MPO.

Section 3 of MPO empowers the government to arrest and detain suspected persons. It states: “The government, if satisfied that with a view to preventing any person from acting in any manner prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order, it is necessary to do, may, by an order in writing, direct the arrest and detention in such custody […] and [the] government, if satisfied that for the aforesaid reasons, it is necessary so to do, may extend from time to time the period of such detention, for a period not exceeding six months at a time.”

Subsequently, Elahi — who was moved to Attock jail — had approached the IHC against his detention, urging the court to declare it as “patently illegal, unlawful and without lawful authority”.

In the petition, Elahi had requested the IHC to set aside the detention order and issue directives for his release. He had cited the interior secretary, district magistrate, the Islamabad inspector general (IG) and the Adiala Jail’s superintendent as respondents in the case.

Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri took up Elahi’s plea today. In the written order, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the judge said that it had been established that the detention order had been passed without any lawful authority and was prima facie in violation of the directives issued by the LHC.

It said that the order was suspended and Elahi was ordered to be released “forthwith” if he was not required in any other case.

“The petitioner is directed to ensure that after being released from jail, he will not participate in any unlawful activity nor contribute to any activity harmful for public safety and tranquillity in society,” the order said.

The order said that the Islamabad deputy commissioner and Elahi should appear in person at the next hearing. The hearing was subsequently adjourned till Tuesday (September 12).

During the hearing, Elahi’s lawyer, Sardar Abdul Raziq Khan, contended that his client had been in jail for the past three months and questioned how he could have caused harm to public order. He also read out the PTI leader’s detention order out loud in court.

“Parvez Elahi has not even issued any statement in four months,” the lawyer said. Khan pointed out that there was no case registered against Elahi in Islamabad and he had been discharged from a corruption case.

He said that Elahi was detained by Islamabad police hours after he was released by the LHC. At this point, Justice Jahangiri asked if Elahi had taken out any rallies or committed any violence, to which the lawyer responded in the negative.

The lawyer then pointed out that contempt of court proceedings were under way against the Islamabad deputy commissioner for issuing such an order against PTI’s Shehryar Afridi.

Justice Jahangiri then asked the lawyer when Elahi was first arrested, to which Khan said the PTI leader was first arrested on June 1. The judge observed that Elahi had been detained for more than three months.

LHC hearing on contempt proceedings

Meanwhile, the LHC ordered for Elahi to be produced before the court tomorrow (Wednesday) while also summoning the Islamabad Chief Commissioner (CC) Mohammad Anwarul Haq and IG Dr Akbar Nasir Khan.

Justice Mirza Waqas Rauf issued the directives while hearing a petition filed by Elahi’s wife, Qaisara Elahi, seeking contempt of court proceedings against Punjab police officials on grounds of “wilful disobedience”.

At the outset of the hearing today, the LHC issued show-cause notices to Punjab IG Dr Usman Anwar and Lahore Capital City Police Office (CCPO) Bilal Siddique Kamyana for not appearing in court as they were summoned yesterday.

It also issued show-cause notices to the Rawalpindi chief police officer, the Attock district police officer (DPO), and the Attock District Jail superintendent for contempt of court proceedings against them.

During the hearing, Punjab Additional Attorney General (AAG) Ghulam Sarwar Nihang recalled that the LHC single-bench had barred authorities from arresting Elahi in any case, and stated that it was not the Punjab police but the Islamabad police who took him into custody.

At this, Justice Rauf asked about the PTI leader’s whereabouts, to which the Nihang replied, “Parvez Elahi was moved to Pims due to ill health. From there, he has been shifted to the Islamabad Police Lines.”

Summoning the federal government’s representative from the attorney general’s office, the LHC adjourned the hearing till 11am.

When the hearing resumed, the federal government’s lawyer appeared before the court and was asked on what basis Elahi had been moved to the Islamabad Police Lines.

He then informed the court that the IHC has suspended the former Punjab chief minister’s detention order under the MPO ordinance.

“Do you not understand that this matter is now in the IHC?” the court asked the lawyer, once again directing that the capital’s CC present Elahi before the court.

The LHC noted that the order to produce Elahi before the court had already been issued and it was giving any new directives, adding that implementation of the court orders was necessary.

Here, AAG Nihang opposed producing Elahi before the court, stating that the single-bench order has been challenged.

Subsequently, the LHC sought CC Haq and IG Khan to appear before the court in a personal capacity tomorrow along with Elahi.

Elahi rushed to Pims

Elahi also underwent different tests at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Monday after his “health deteriorated” in Attock Jail.

Dr Mubashir Daha, a spokesperson for Pims, told Dawn that the former Punjab chief minister was examined by doctors of the hospital’s emergency ward and he was in good health.

“He was brought to the hospital for a routine check-up due to which blood pressure was checked and some lab tests were also conducted. He was in good health so no medical board was established,” he added.

After examination, the former chief minister was shifted back to the jail under strict security.

According to jail sources, Elahi had complained about his health condition to the jail authorities on Monday morning.

Subsequently, a three-member medical team, headed by medical superintendent of Attock District Hospital Dr Jawad Ellahi, examined the PTI leader and referred him to Pims for further examination and tests.

Timeline of arrests and rearrests

Elahi was first taken into custody on June 1 from outside his Lahore residence by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) for allegedly taking kickbacks in development projects.

The next day, he was discharged by a Lahore court but was rearrested by the ACE in a similar case registered in its Gujran­wala region. However, a Gujranwala court had then discharged him on June 3 in two corruption cases pertaining to the embezzlement of funds.

Nevertheless, even after being discharged, the ACE then rearrested Elahi for “illegal recruitments” in the Punjab Assembly.

On June 9, a special anti-corruption court had given the ACE a “last opportunity” to present the record of the illegal appointments case.

The same day, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) came into action and initiated another inquiry against Elahi for his alleged involvement in embezzlement in development projects in Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin.

After a sessions court on June 12 had set aside a judicial magistrate’s decision of Elahi’s acquittal in the embezzlement case, the next day, a judicial magistrate again sent him to judicial lockup after the LHC suspended the said order of the sessions court.

On June 20, Elahi finally secured relief from an anti-corruption court in Lahore but could not be released from jail as orders for his release were not delivered to the prison administration.

The same day, the FIA booked him, his son Moonis Elahi and three others on charges of money laundering.

Subsequently, the next day, the FIA took him into custody from jail and he was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand in the money laundering case.

On June 26, a Lahore district court again sent Elahi to jail on a 14-day judicial remand in connection with a money laundering case, shortly after the FIA arrested him from outside the Camp Jail.

Then on July 4, a Lahore anti-terrorism court had dismissed Elahi’s post-arrest bail plea as not maintainable in a case of attacking a police team that raided his house to arrest him in an inquiry by the ACE.

About a week later, the LHC instructed Inspector General of Prisons Mian Farooq to address the PTI president’s complaints regarding the lack of basic facilities provided to him in jail.

On July 12, an FIA plea against the denial of Elahi’s physical remand in a case of unexplained banking transactions was dismissed by a Lahore sessions court.

Two days later, the LHC had restrained the police and the ACE from arresting the former Punjab chief minister in any undisclosed case. However, he was then detained at Lahore’s Camp Jail under Section 3 of the MPO.

Upon the completion of the MPO detention, the Lahore NAB team took Elahi into custody from the Adiala Jail in a graft case on August 14.

On September 1, he was rearrested by the Islamabad police hours after the LHC had ordered his release in the graft case.

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