The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Akbar Nisar Khan over a contempt case linked to PTI President Parvez Elahi’s arrest.
On September 1, the Islamabad police had re-arrested Elahi under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) from near his residence soon after the LHC had set him free and issued a restraining order against his possible arrest by any agency or preventive detention.
After the re-arrest, the PTI president’s wife, Qaisara Elahi, filed two pleas in the LHC, seeking directions for relevant authorities to present him in court and contempt proceedings against Punjab police officials on the grounds of “willful disobedience”.
On Sept 4, the LHC issued a show-cause notice for contempt of court to IG Khan while hearing the plea for Parvez’s production in court. A day later, the LHC further directed him to appear before the court in a personal capacity on Sept 6 along with Elahi.
But during the Sept 6 hearing, the Islamabad advocate general informed the court that the Islamabad IG could not comply with its directive as he had to appear before the Supreme Court.
In the last hearing on Sep 11, the court had issued bailable arrest warrants for the Islamabad police chief for his no-show. The court had directed him to appear before it on Sep 18, only for him to skip the hearing again.
Today, LHC Justice Mirza Waqas Rauf again asked about the absence of the inspector general and questioned whether “the court orders are being taken for granted”.
The government’s counsel informed the court that the Islamabad police chief was “busy”. The court then sought confirmation from the government’s counsel regarding the IG’s whereabouts.
Following a short break, the court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for IG Khan, noting that he had failed to appear before the court even when bailable arrest warrants were issued during the last hearing of the case.
The court sought the government’s counsel’s reply on the matter, to which the counsel responded that he had been unable to establish contact with the IG.
Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned until October 2.
Elahi arrested again
In a separate development, Elahi was re-arrested yet again — this time by the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment in a case involving the appointment of Muhammad Khan Bhatti as his principal secretary during his tenure as the chief minister, his lawyer told Dawn.com.
According to the first information report filed by the ACE — a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the ACE said the appointment of Bhatti was not in accordance with the law.
The former chief minister will be moved to Lahore tomorrow, his lawyer Intezar Hussain said.
Timeline of arrests
Following May 9 riots, Elahi was first taken into custody on June 1 from outside his Lahore residence by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Gujrat for allegedly taking kickbacks in development projects.
The next day, a Lahore court discharged him in the case but only for the ACE to re-arrest him in a case registered in the Gujranwala region. In this case, Elahi was accused of causing a Rs100 million loss to the national exchequer and receiving kickbacks during his time as the Punjab chief minister.
A day after his re-arrest, a Gujranwala court also discharged Elahi in two corruption cases, including the one in which he was detained on June 2. But freedom still eluded him as he was again re-arrested by anti-graft officials in a case pertaining to “illegal recruitments” in the Punjab Assembly.
While Elahi remained in custody, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) initiated another inquiry against him on June 9 over his alleged involvement in embezzlement in development projects in Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin.
On June 12, a sessions court set aside a judicial magistrate’s decision of Elahi’s acquittal in the illegal appointments case. The Lahore High Court (LHC), however, suspended the lower court’s order a day later, and a judicial magistrate again sent him to judicial lockup.
The PTI leader finally secured relief from an anti-corruption court in Lahore on June 20 but could not be released from jail as orders for his release were not delivered to the prison administration.
The same day, the Federal Investigation Agency (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 25, a special court in Lahore granted Elahi bail in the case, but he was again arrested by the FIA outside Camp Jail in connection with another money laundering case the very next day. In this case, the FIA alleged that Elahi handed over Rs50m to a woman via a frontman for money laundering.
On July 14, the LHC restrained police and the ACE from arresting the former Punjab chief minister in any undisclosed case while hearing his plea seeking details of all cases registered against him.
And Lahore Banking Crimes Court issued Elahi’s release orders in the money laundering case on July 15 — a week after it allowed his post-arrest bail. But he was not set free as police said he was booked in a terror case. The said case was registered at Lahore’s Ghalib Market police station under terrorism provisions.
Upon the completion of the MPO detention on Aug 14, the Lahore NAB team took Elahi into custody from the Adiala Jail — where he was taken on July 19, reportedly on administrative grounds — in yet another graft case. The NAB alleged Elahi received bribes/kickbacks in exchange for getting the “contracts of road schemes of Gujrat Highways Division awarded to favourite/hand-picked contractors”.
Fifteen days later, the LHC directed NAB to release him and barred authorities from arresting him in any case, but Islamabad police arrested him anyway. Police said he was held under 3-MPO on a magistrate’s orders. The order said Elahi should be detained for 15 days.
The detention order was suspended by the IHC on Sept 6 but Elahi was arrested yet again by the police the same day. The arrest was made in a case pertaining to clashes between Islamabad police and PTI workers outside the Judicial Complex on March 18.
The surety bonds for the bail were not submitted yet; hence, his client had not been released from the Adiala jail and subsequently taken into custody by the ACE, Elahi’s lawyer said.