Lahore court grants police 2-day physical remand of Parvez Elahi in illegal appointments case

Published October 26, 2023
PTI President Parvez Elahi presented before a Lahore sessions court on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI President Parvez Elahi presented before a Lahore sessions court on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

A Lahore district and sessions court on Thursday granted police two-day physical remand of PTI president Parvez Elahi in a case pertaining to illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly.

Last month, the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) had arrested Elahi on charges of appointing Muhammad Khan Bhatti as his principal secretary during his tenure as the chief minister. It alleged that the appointment of Bhatti was not in accordance with the law.

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

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.

Today, Elahi was presented before the court of Judicial Magistrate Imran Abid amid tight security.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the hearing, Elahi lamented what he called was “special relief” only for PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shehbaz.

“All the reliefs are for them. We have been on bail for five months yet we are being harassed,” he said.

Elahi further stated that justice, in the truest sense, was served when the public saw and accepted it. “We have always honoured and respected the courts while the Sharifs have said what not about the judiciary,” he added.

At the outset of the hearing, Elahi’s lawyers requested the court to postpone the proceedings citing the unavailability of his counsels. “Parvez Elahi’s legal team is at the high court for another case,” Advocate Amir Saeed said.

However, the investigating officer urged the court to hear ACE’s arguments. The ACE lawyer requested for Elahi’s 14-day physical remand for interrogation in the case.

“Previously, Parvez Elahi was sent on judicial remand in the case and we couldn’t investigate him,” he said, adding that the Lahore High Court had granted the ACE permission for the PTI president’s physical remand.

The court subsequently reserved its verdict. In an order issued later, it directed the ACE to present Elahi in court on Oct 28.

Elahi discharged in sugar mills case

Earlier, the court discharged Elahi in a case pertaining to illegally enhancing the crushing capacity of sugar mills citing “lack of evidence”.

The case alleges that Elahi had increased the crushing capacity of Rahim Yar Khan Sugar Mills by 30,000 metric tons in violation of the law.

During the hearing today, the investigating officer sought Elahi’s physical remand for interrogation. He said that the former chief minister enhanced the crushing capacity of sugar mills against the rules and exceeded his authority.

Meanwhile, Elahi’s lawyer opposed the request for remand, saying that his client was being politically victimised. He further demanded that the PTI president be immediately discharged in the case.

“Parvez Elahi has nothing to do with the case,” Advocate Amir Saeed said, recalling that a committee — constituted by the government — had decided to increase the quota of sugar mills.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Abid reserved the verdict on ACE’s requests for physical remand.

In an order issued later, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the court ruled that the FIR registered against Elahi did not include any specific allegation of taking bribes and highlighted that a committee, formed under an act passed by the Punjab Assembly, had taken the decision to enhance the crushing capabilities of sugar mills in Rahim Yar Khan.

“After perusing the available record with the assistance of advocates on both sides it is hereby observed that no incriminating material is available against the present accused on the file to grant his physical remand or send him to judicial remand,” it said and discharged the PTI president.

However, the order added that discharging Elahi did not amount to acquittal or cancellation of the FIR. “The investigation of the case continues and even the IO can re-arrest the discharged accused as a result of further investigation and challan him before the competent court of law,” it said.

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