SWABI: Former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser, having just secured bail from an anti-corruption court, was re-arrested on Thursday in a May 9 case registered in Charsadda district.

Senior special judge Babar Ali Khan granted the bail on condition that Mr Qaiser submit two surety bonds of Rs80,000 each. Swabi’s anti-corruption establishment had charged the PTI leader with financial irregularities in procurement of equipment for the Gajju Khan Medical College, Swabi.

However, following his release from Swabi prison, a joint team of Swabi and Charsadda police arrested Mr Qaiser from his Marghuz residence, citing his suspected involvement in the ransacking of Charsadda Toll Plaza on the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway during the nationwide violent protests that erupted on May 9 after PTI chief Imran Khan’s arrest in a corruption case.

Jawad Khan, the deputy superintendent of police (headquarters), told Dawn that Mr Qaiser had been transferred to Charsadda police custody.

PTI leader’s detention came soon after his release on bail by an anti-corruption court

Waheed Khan, Mr Qaiser’s brother, revealed that the former speaker is scheduled to appear before an anti-terrorism court in Mardan on Friday (today).

Mr Qaiser was initially arrested on Nov 3 at his Banigala, Islamabad, residence on charges of causing losses to the national exchequer through procurement irregularities in the Gajju Khan Medical College.

Mr Qaiser has also petitioned the Peshawar High Court, asking it to order the government to provide details of all pending cases and inquiries against him so that he can approach the relevant court for relief.

Following his arrest on Thursday, the PTI leader released a video message urging party supporters to continue their lawful struggle and aim for a two-thirds majority in the upcoming general election.

“I tell my Pakistani brothers that you should not be afraid. We believe in the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution,” Mr Qaiser said in the video posted on X, formerly Twitter.

“It’s election time, and they (the establishment) are trying to take us to the other side, but we will continue our struggle within the limits of law.

“We have only one demand: Pakistan should be governed according to the Constit­ution and the law. There should be a level playing field for all political parties,” he added.

Referring to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Mr Qaiser implied that the former’s appointment as prime minister was already decided, but hoped that the public would defeat such a narrative and vote for the PTI.

Aqibullah Khan, Mr Qaiser’s brother and former MNA, highlighted his brother’s legal challenges in Islamabad, Peshawar and Swabi, decrying the latest arrest as a “fabrication”.

“Is it not an anarchy? Is it not a banana republic? Is there any constitution or law in this country? Which institution is there in this country, where should we go, where should we fight for cases?” Aqibullah said while talking to the media.

Waheed Khan noted that three cases were registered against his brother related to the May 9 violence: one was in Swabi, another in Islamabad and now the third in Charsadda. “How can a person be present at three different sites simultaneously?” he wondered.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2023

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