The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday granted PTI President Parvez Elahi bail in a case pertaining to an alleged illegal appointment made in the Punjab Assembly during his recent stint as the chief minister.

Initially taken into custody on June 1 last year, the former Punjab CM has faced a series of releases and re-arrests, and has remained in detention ever since. The legal challenges coincided with the state’s crackdown on the PTI that followed the violent May 9 protests that saw important government and military installations vandalised.

The case at hand pertains to the alleged illegal appointment of Muhammad Khan Bhatti as the principal secretary to the chief minister during Elahi’s tenure as the Punjab CM.

However, Elahi is not expected to be released as he is still under arrest in other cases.

Today, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhary presided over the hearing while Advocate Amir Saeed Rawn and Farman Munis appeared as Elahi’s counsels.

During the hearing, Rawn informed the court that a judicial magistrate had discharged Bhatti from the case.

He argued that the notification for Bhatti’s appointment as the principal secretary had been issued by the Punjab chief secretary before Elahi assumed the role of the CM.

Rawn said that the provincial chief secretary had not been made a respondent in the case, adding that the case was filed on a “political basis”.

Subsequently, the court granted Elahi bail against surety bonds worth Rs100,000.

The case

Elahi was initially arrested in the case of recruitments to the Punjab Assembly on June 3 last year. The case pertained to illegal recruitments of 12 Grade-17 officers in the provincial assembly, with Elahi being accused of getting the results of the testing service changed to select the candidates of his choice.

He was then arrested on September 18 in the case of allegedly illegally appointing Bhatti, following which a Lahore court sent him on judicial remand.

In October, a Lahore district and sessions court had granted police Elahi’s two-day physical remand in the case. Days later, the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) had informed the court that it had allegedly recovered Rs4.1 million from the ex-CM’s house in the case.

The next month, a judicial magistrate had discharged Bhatti in the case but he remained in jail as he was on judicial remand in other corruption cases. Later the same month, Elahi was denied bail in the case.

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