LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants for the wife of absconding former federal minister Moonis Elahi and another suspect for not attending the hearing of a prosecution appeal seeking cancellation of their pre-arrest bail in a money laundering case.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry was hearing the prosecution appeal when the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) President Parvez Elahi’s wife Qaisera Elahi, son Rasikh Elahi and daughter-in-law Zara Elahi made their appearance.

However, Tehreem Elahi, the wife of Moonis, and Saira Anwar did not appear before the court.

At this, the bench issued bailable warrants for their arrest, directing them to furnish surety bonds and appear on March 18.

A trial court had last year confirmed the pre-arrest bail of the Elahi’s family members in the money laundering case lodged by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The prosecution filed the appeal before the high court for the cancellation of their bail.

The FIA alleged that the sons and the daughters-in-law of former chief minister Elahi committed money laundering through a low cadre employee of the Punjab Assembly.

It said the suspects used bank accounts of Qaiser Iqbal Bhatti, a peon of the assembly, to launder money.

The agency said unexplained transactions of millions of rupees had been traced in the accounts of the peon and the children of Mr Elahi. It alleged that the assets of the peon had been found beyond his known sources of income.

The FIA said the inquiry in question had no relation with any previous probe as it had been initiated against a government employee, the assembly’s peon.

Moonis has been declared a proclaimed offender in the case.

Jail trial of Ejaz: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed a provincial government’s lawyer to furnish complete record of a notification regarding jail trial of May 9 cases against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Senator Ejaz Chaudhry.

Hearing a petition by the senator, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Aalia Neelum asked an additional advocate general whether the trial court had asked the government for a jail trial in the cases.

The judge observed that the language of the notification reflects as if someone sought security from the government.

The law officer sought time to present complete documents relating to the notification.

The bench allowed the request and directed the government’s lawyer to submit the record on March 7.

Earlier, Advocate Ali Ashfaq, the counsel for the senator, pleaded that the provincial government with ulterior motives approved jail trials in the FIRs relating to the May 9 protests only to harass the suspects.

He argued that the jail trial cannot be termed open and fair as the concept of jail trial is against the fundamentals of due process of law.

He said a jail trial is a violation of Article 10-A of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to fair trial and due process of law.

The counsel stated that the trial court also approved the decision of the government and started the jail trial against the petitioner in two cases of attacks on the Jinnah House and Shadman police station.

He asked the court to set aside the decision of the provincial government and the trial court for being unconstitutional.

The PTI senator is on judicial remand in several cases of the May 9 riots registered against the leaders and workers of the party.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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