• Reunites with family after being granted bail in illegal appointments case
• Special court likely to indict him in the same case on June 3
• PTI leader says no talks with Ch Shujaat’s sons until ‘stolen mandate’ returned

LAHORE: PTI Central Presi­dent Chaudhry Parvez Elahi walked free from jail on Tuesday about a year after he was arrested in a number of cases.

Mr Elahi was released from the Kot Lakhpat Jail after the Lahore High Court granted him post-arrest bail in a case of illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly, instituted by the Anti-Corruption Establish­ment (ACE) during the tenure of caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi. This case appears to be the last one among over a dozen other cases in which he secured bail.

“I am thankful to Allah Almighty for giving me strength to get through this ordeal. I am grateful to the judges who supported the truth and I was re­­leased,” Mr Elahi said on X after reaching his Gulberg residence.

He said the people of Gujrat had suffered a great deal, and even the PTI’s mandate in Gujrat was stolen.

“No talks will be held with Chaudhry Shujaat’s sons until our stolen mandate is returned and those of our people who suffered in Gujrat pardon them,” Mr Elahi said and alleged that interior minister Mohsin Naqvi was a prime character in his arrest and atrocities committed against the Elahi family.

Pledging his resolve to remain with the PTI founder through thick and thin, Mr Elahi said: “I am with Imran Khan and will remain with him come what may.” The PTI president’s son Moonis Elahi also uploaded the picture of his father on his X account and thanked Allah Almighty for his release from jail.

Photos of him being reunited with his family members were also shared on social media.

About a year ago, the ACE had arrested Mr Elahi after a week-long police siege of his residence in Lahore.

During the past year, the PTI president was re-arrested each time he got bail in one case or another. He was re-arrested for at least 12 cases which the PTI termed “phony” only to pressure Mr Elahi to quit the party.

Mr Elahi’s counsel Advocate Manzoor Warriach said that he (Elahi) was not in good health as he had to undergo several medical tests.

Earlier in the day, the LHC granted him bail in a case of making alleged illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly. “I have found that the case against the petitioner calls for further inquiry into his guilt,” Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmad observed in his order granting bail.

The ACE had registered the FIR alleging that illegal appointments against BS-17 posts were made in the assembly when Mr Elahi was the chief minister and Mohammad Khan Bhatti was his principal secretary in 2021. The prosecution said favourite candidates were appointed to the posts despite their failure in written exam.

In the decision, Justice Ahmad noted that around two-year delay in lodging the case went unexplained by the prosecution.

He observed that the prosecution relied upon the recovery allegedly made from the petitioner and one of his co-accused Mr Bhatti. The judge said the prosecution was asked to show from the record if the recovered currency had any specification or special marks, but it did not give any answer.

He said the prosecution also failed to prove allegation of forgery in the examination results. The judge allowed the bail to Mr Elahi subject to furnishing Rs500,000 bail bonds.

Meanwhile, a special court on Tuesday delayed ex-CM’s indictment, along with that of other suspects in a case of “illegal” appointments in the Punjab Assembly due to the unavailability of the PTI president.

An ACE prosecutor informed the court that Mr Elahi could not be produced due to health reasons.

Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing and directed the prosecution to ensure the presence of all suspects for indictment on June 3.

The indictment in this case has been delayed for several months due to non-production of Mr Elahi or other suspects.

A police report filed before the LHC on Tuesday revealed that 20 criminal cases had been registered against Mr Elahi in five districts of Punjab. According to the report, 11 cases have been registered against him in Rawalpindi, four in Faisalabad, three in Lahore, and one each in Gujranwala and Attock. Majority of the cases pertained to the May 9 riots.

Wajih Ahmad Sheikh also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2024

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