• Ex-CM says Nawaz will be disappointed by public response on return
• NAB ‘not aggrieved’ in ruling against PTI president’s arrest, Lahore High Court rules

LAHORE: A judicial magistrate on Tuesday denied physical custody of PTI President Parvez Elahi to the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) in two cases pertaining to illegal appointments in Punjab Assem­bly and remanded him back to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.

Former chief minister Elahi was brought from the Rawalpindi jail to be presented before the magistrate for physical remand in cases of alleged illegal appointment of former provincial assembly secretary Mohammad Khan Bhatti as his principal secretary and receiving kickbacks in other appointments of lower cadre in the assembly.

Police cordoned off the district courts as reporters were not allowed to cover the remand proceedings before Judicial Magistrate Imran Abid.

‘Threatening’ behaviour

At the outset of the hearing, Lahore Bar Association president Intezar Hussain, who was representing the ex-CM, argued that Additional Prosecutor General Abdul Samad could not represent the ACE before the magistrate as the former was only competent to appear before the high and supreme courts and only the designated prosecutors of the anti-graft watchdog were eligible to plead the case.

Advocate Hussain then remarked that after the change of government, [such] prosecutors would also face cases.

At this, the additional prosecutor general asked the magistrate to take notice of the ‘threatening’ behaviour of the defence counsel.

While resuming arguments, he assured the court that he would place an authority letter of the ACE about pleading the case.

Opposing the request for physical remand, the defence counsel drew the attention of the magistrate towards the recent Lahore High Court ruling to grant protective bail to Mr Elahi in a case wherein the ACE was asking for his remand.

After hearing both sides, the magistrate initially reserved his verdict. An hour later he annou­nced the decision, dismissing ACE’s req­uest and sending Mr Elahi back to Adiala jail on judicial remand.

Nawaz’s homecoming

In a brief conversation with reporters outside the court, Mr Elahi said he had complete faith in judiciary and military. He said they both were guardians of the country’s security.

Talking about the economic crisis in the country, Mr Elahi said the Sharif family was responsible for Pakistan’s current situation. People were suffering the consequences of unfair deals with IMF, he said.

He was of the opinion that ex-PM Nawaz Sharif would be disappointed upon his return next month, as people would demand his accountability instead of welcoming him.

Mr Elahi was shifted to Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail on Sunday soon after a judicial magistrate discharged a case of alleged corruption in the Lahore Master Plan 2050 against him.

‘NAB is not aggrieved party’

A two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court, meanwhile, disposed of an appeal by the NAB against a single-judge bench order restraining Mr Elahi’s arrest even in any undisclosed case or inquiry.

The bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Raheel Kamran Sheikh observed that the NAB was ‘not aggrieved’ of the impugned order passed on Mr Elahi’s petition since it did not issue any specific direction to appellant (NAB).

“Hence, we deem it appropriate to observe that such an order does not adversely affect the appellant,” the bench said in its order and disposed of the bureau’s appeal for being not maintainable.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2023

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