An Islamabad anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday granted the capital police two-day physical remand of PTI President Parvez Elahi in a newly emerged terror case dating back to March 18.
The development comes a day after Elahi was re-arrested hours after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had suspended his detention under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance and directed his release.
The PTI leader 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.
The posts on X (formerly Twitter) by the Islamabad police on Tuesday announcing Elahi’s release and his subsequent re-arrest had a time difference of a mere eight minutes. Police had said Elahi was detained in a case registered at the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) police station.
The PTI had shared footage of the latest episode and criticised authorities for Elahi’s latest arrest.
Earlier today, capital police presented the PTI leader before Duty Judge Shahrukh Arjumand at the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC). Footage of his arrival appeared to show Elahi holding onto someone’s hand for support.
Advocate Sardar Abdur Razzaq and defence counsel Ali Bukhari appeared on Elahi’s behalf while Prosecutor Tahir Kazim was also present.
During the hearing, the police sought 14-day physical remand of the former Punjab chief minister while his lawyers opposed it and urged the court to discharge Elahi from the case.
However, the court rejected the lawyer’s plea and handed Elahi over to the police instead on two-day physical remand.
During an informal conversation with reporters at the FJC, Elahi said, “I was kept at the Crime Investigation Agency police station the entire night.
“Why would anyone meet me? I am the one who doesn’t want to meet anyone,” he said.
When asked by a reporter if he planned to hold a press conference — an apparent reference to the manner in which dozens of PTI leaders quit the party following the May 9 incidents — Elahi replied, “Absolutely not.”
ATC hearing at FJC
At the outset of the hearing, Elahi’s lawyers submitted a power of attorney. Razzaq informed the court that it was his client’s wish to “go to the courtroom myself”.
The judge then directed that Elahi be seated, after which he came to the rostrum. Subsequently, the police urged the court to grant them 14-day physical remand of the PTI leader.
Here, Razzaq began presenting his arguments to the court, opposing the police’s request. “A laughable case has been made against Parvez Elahi. He is being made the target of a political vendetta,” he argued.
He lamented that his client was discharged in numerous cases but was then re-arrested repeatedly. He also highlighted the IHC’s verdict of suspending Elahi’s detention under the MPO, as well as the LHC’s order preventing further arrest of the PTI leader.
“The court ordered that Parvez Elahi be dropped off at his home with security,” Razzaq stated, adding that the Islamabad police had “abducted” his client.
Recalling the LHC’s order from September 4, the lawyer said that it had ordered that Elahi be presented in court. “Citizens’ human rights are being violated,” he said.
Razzaq further said that the IHC had written in its order that the arrest was in violation of the LHC verdict and read the IHC court order out loud.
“The police have shredded the court’s orders into pieces. […] There is not a single incident against Parvez Elahi yet he is being arrested for the past three months.”
He alleged, “Parvez Elahi was brought to Islamabad on the pretext of having a medical checkup at Pims (Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences) and was put behind bars.”
The lawyer went on to inform the court that he went to the Police Lines, taking the IHC order with him. “The police made Parvez Elahi sit in my car and did not even let him meet his family,” he asserted.
“When we reached the Police Lines’ gate, Islamabad police arrested Parvez Elahi. The police made his lawyers come out of the car and took him to the police station after arresting him,” Razzaq apprised the court.
He further said that neither did the police inform them of the reason behind the arrest nor did they show an arrest warrant.
Here, Elahi, while addressing Razzaq, said, “I was not allowed to sleep at the police station the entire night.”
The lawyer then said, “An attempt is being made to get Elahi to change his political association.”
Razzaq then contended that the former Punjab chief minister’s name was not even included in the March 18 FIR as it was filed against unidentified suspects.
He said that the incident concerned the day when PTI Chairman Imran Khan was presented before a court at the FJC, saying that Elahi was in Lahore at that time.
“Unknown men are those who cannot be identified. Parvez Elahi has served as chief minister twice and belongs to a renowned political family — how can he be unknown?” the lawyer asked.
“Even a common man can see that state terrorism is being committed against Parvez Elahi. If you do not have to obey the courts then shut them down. All cases against Parvez Elahi have come to an end [but] their hearts were not satisfied so they filed a terror case,” he added.
Razzaq urged the court to discharge the PTI president from the case and concluded his arguments.
Then defence counsel Bukhari started presenting his arguments: “The court has to decide whether this is actually a remand case or a political case,” he said.
He argued that the LHC orders were also applicable to other courts. “Parvez Elahi was in police custody. What did the investigation officer do in 24 hours?” he asked.
Bukhari contended that the police request of physical remand “had no mention of investigation” and that the police did not have “anything to investigate against Elahi”.
“The court will have to see whether an investigation is even required or not. What will be the reason for requiring remand? They would have to recover a cane, car, or matchstick [but] there is nothing as such in the case.
“The situation is such that tomorrow, lawyers will be pleading for each other’s bail,” Bukhari quipped as he urged the court to discharge Elahi from the case.
Subsequently, prosecutor Tahir Kazim began his arguments. He contended that Elahi’s lawyers had twisted the facts.
He noted that the IHC had suspended Elahi’s detention order under the MPO. “The IHC order said Elahi should be released if he was not wanted in any other case,” he said.
“He was wanted in this case which is why we arrested him,” the prosecutor said.
He added that Elahi was accused of sending people to the FJC and providing them monetary support. He said that officials needed to probe who these people were, in which cars they came and the type of monetary support they were provided.
“We released Elahi yesterday on the IHC’s order and then arrested him later,” the prosecutor said.
The court then reserved the verdict in the case.
LHC issues contempt notice to Islamabad chief commissioner
Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday issued a show-cause notice for contempt of court to the Islamabad Chief Commissioner (CC) Mohammad Anwarul Haq while hearing a plea for PTI President Parvez Elahi’s production in court and release.
It comes a day after the LHC had ordered the city’s CC and Inspector General (IG) Dr Akbar Nasir Khan — who had already been issued a show-cause notice on Monday — to appear before the court along with Elahi.
On September 1, the LHC had ordered that the PTI leader be released along with a restraining order against his possible arrest by any agency or preventive detention. However, he was arrested hours after his release that day.
Today, Justice Mirza Waqas Rauf took up the habeas corpus petition, filed by Elahi’s wife Qaisera Elahi, and disposed of it declaring it infructuous.
At the outset of the hearing, Judge Rauf wondered what action could be taken after “yesterday’s developments”, while noting that only contempt of court proceedings could be initiated against the police officers involved.
Qaisera’s lawyer asserted: “The court order was defied by arresting Parvez Elahi. The court had ordered that Parvez Elahi shall not be arrested in any case. Basic rights are being violated here.”
To this, the judge replied: “The detention matter went to the Islamabad High Court, from where the release order was issued. After this, he was arrested in an FIR. On the FIR’s matter, it now falls under the Islamabad High Court’s jurisdiction.”
“The contempt of court matter can be proceeded with here,” Judge Rauf noted, to which the lawyer said that the court had Elahi’s custody and action was being taken in violation of court orders.
At this point during the hearing, the Islamabad advocate general appeared before the court and informed it that the city police chief could not come there as he had to appear before the Supreme Court.
He further informed the court that similarly, CC Haq had been summoned by the IHC, which is why he could not come to the LHC today.
When Judge Rauf asked him why the CC did not appear before the LHC, the advocate general responded that the IHC’s summon order was present from before.
“Fine, we’ll look into it,” the judge said.
Here, Qaisera’s counsel once again recalled the LHC order barring authorities from arresting Elahi in any case, to which Judge Rauf replied, “The FIR was registered in Islamabad so how could this court interfere?
The lawyer argued, “This is ill intent from the Islamabad police. They release [Elahi] in one case and arrest him in another.”
When the judge inquired about why the order to present Elahi before the court was not followed, the advocate general replied, “Parvez Elahi has been arrested from Islamabad’s territory. It does not fall under this court’s jurisdiction.”
Here, Judge Ruaf observed that the former Punjab chief minister was incarcerated in the Atotock district jail, which is why the LHC heard the case.
The advocate general then told the court that the PTI president was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), from where he was taken to the Islamabad Police Lines.
Noting that implementation of the court orders was necessary, Judge Rauf told the advocate general that he could challenge the court order if he had any reservations about it.
“Tell the Islamabad chief commissioner that he is going to the Lahore High Court,” he said while addressing the advocate general, to which the latter once again informed the court that the IHC’s orders were already present.
“The chief commissioner should have appeared before this court,” the judge observed.
The LHC then disposed of the petition while declaring it as “infructuous”. It also issued a contempt of court show-cause notice to CC Haq, directing the registrar’s office to prepare a separate case file for the contempt proceedings.
March 18 terror case
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.
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.