• Elahi’s plea against ACE remand turned down, court seeks report on facilities given to ex-CM in prison
• PML-Q leader expresses concern over cousin’s repeated arrests, terms it ‘harassment’

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the Islamabad police chief for his failure to appear even in contempt proceedings initiated after he had defied court orders for the production of PTI leader Parvez Elahi.

The court also issued bailable arrest warrants for the capital’s chief commissioner and the Attock Jail superintendent.

Later, the judge also issued a contempt notice to the SP concerned of Islamabad for not executing the IGP’s previous warrants and adjourned the proceedings to Oct 2.

Separately, another LHC bench dismissed Mr Elahi’s petition against an order granting his physical remand to the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), while LHC’s Rawalpindi bench sought a report from officials over the provision of better facilities to Mr Elahi in the Adiala Jail.

On Sept 11, Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf issued bailable arrest warrants for Islamabad Inspector General of Police Akbar Nasir Khan and ordered him to appear before the court.

However, neither IGP Nasir nor the SP appeared before the court when the judge resumed the hearing of the contempt petition filed by Mr Elahi’s wife on Monday.

The Lahore DIGs for operations and investigation appeared before the court and submitted separate replies to the show cause notices, but Justice Rauf rejected the explanation of both officers.

Plea against ACE remand

The ACE had produced Mr Elahi before a judicial magistrate for remand in a case of alleged illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly. However, the request was denied. Later, an additional district and sessions judge set aside the magistrate’s order on the ACE’s appeal.

Mr Elahi then petitioned against the order in LHC, which was dismissed on Monday.

Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmad observed the magistrate refused the physical remand on the very first day “in some apparent haste”.

Therefore, the sessions court intervened after examining the record of proceedings before the magistrate.

After satisfying itself, the sessions court exercised its jurisdiction and issued the order, the LHC judge stated, adding the case was dealt with in detail by the sessions court and it gave cogent reasons in the order.

LHC seeks report

Also on Monday, a single-member bench of LHC’s Rawalpindi registry, comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, directed the Punjab inspector general prisons and Adiala Jail superintendent to submit their replies on Mr Elahi’s petition for better facilities.

The judge also sought a report from Adiala jail authorities over the construction of a wall outside the barrack where Mr Elahi was being held.

The PTI leader’s counsel, Sardar Abdul Raziq Khan, argued his client, as the ex-chief minister, Punjab Assembly speaker and a renowned politician, was entitled to better facilities in jail.

Bail for family members

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq also granted seven-day protective bail to Mr Elahi’s wife Qaisera Elahi, son Rasikh Elahi and daughter-in-law Zara Ali in the LDA land scam case.

The petitioners’ counsel expressed apprehensions of their arrest and requested the court to grant protective bail, enabling them to approach the trial court. The IHC chief justice granted the bail against Rs20,000 surety bonds each.

Family’s concern

Meanwhile in Gujrat, Chaudhary Salik Hussain, the son of PML-Q chief Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain, has expressed concerns over repeated arrests of former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi “without proof” and called it harassment.

Addressing a press conference in Jassoki village on Monday, Mr Hussain said even though Mr Ealhi was now part of a different party, his arrests were tantamount to harassment and called them “wrongful”.

“If there is any evidence of corruption against Parvez Elahi, it should be made public.”

Commenting on general elections, Mr Salik said only the ECP could hold the polls and neither the president nor the prime minister could do anything in this regard.

He added that meetings between his father and Mr Elahi in prison were never meant to bring the latter back into the PML-Q fold. His father wanted to inquire about the wellbeing of Mr Elahi and no political discussion took place during the meetings.

He also refuted the reports of joining PML-N and said that he and his father “have our own party that will remain intact”.

Waseem Ashraf Butt in Gujrat also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2023

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