Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party president Parvez Elahi re-arrested

By Press Trust of India: The President of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party Parvez Elahi was on Friday arrested again minutes after a judicial magistrate here ordered his release in an embezzlement case.

Elahi, a close aide to former prime minister Khan, was a day earlier arrested outside his residence in Punjab province in the Rs 70 million corruption case related to the embezzlement of development funds allocated for the Gujrat district.

The former chief minister of Punjab province was re-arrested by officials of the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab in a corruption case registered against him in Gujranwala, Geo News reported.

Judicial Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza Virk issued Elahi’s release order while announcing the verdict he had reserved on a plea seeking the PTI leader’s physical remand.

“Parvez Elahi should be released if he is not wanted in any other case,” the verdict said. Murtaza had reserved the verdict after hearing the former Punjab chief minister’s case, where ACE Punjab requested the court for his 14-day physical remand.

Elahi’s counsel Advocate Rana Intizar informed the court that all documents related to the projects were available.

“Anti-corruption watchdog is introducing its own law under which the judge hearing the cases will be of their choice,” the council said, adding that on January 17 a payment worth Rs 360 million was made when Naqvi was the chief minister.

Earlier on Friday, the 77-year-old leader claimed innocence and said that he was a “supporter” of the Pakistan Army, urging party supporters to stay strong.

Speaking to reporters before his appearance in the court, Elahi said: “I am innocent and a supporter of the Pakistan Army.”

While speaking to Geo News, Elahi without naming anybody took a jibe at the former party leaders who announced their decision to part ways with PTI chief Imran Khan, saying that he won’t hold any press conference.

Elahi recalled that he did not make any political case against anyone and blamed Punjab chief minister Mohsin Naqvi for his current predicament. “Naqvi has done injustice to me.”

Two cases have been registered in Gujranwala against the former Punjab chief minister on the charges of receiving kickbacks in awarding contracts while one case has been lodged in Lahore against Elahi.

Earlier, a special judge of the anti-corruption court here issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Elahi, ordering authorities to produce him by June 2. Two arrest warrants have been issued for the PTI leader. The first one was issued on May 25 after the cancellation of bail while the second one on May 26.

In April, the ACE Gujranwala filed a case against the PTI president citing a report based on sources, in which the former Punjab chief minister was accused of taking a Rs 2 billion bribe for the contract of a development scheme.

In another case, an FIR was registered against Elahi for taking a bribe of Rs 120 million from an international organisation — a Turkish company.

The anti-corruption court judge also declared Elahi’s medical certificate as bogus which claimed that he had been experiencing chest pain. The former Punjab chief minister’s arrest comes amidst the powerful establishment’s efforts to break Khan’s PTI.

Currently, over 100 PTI leaders and former lawmakers have quit Khan’s party following May 9 attacks on military installations in the country. Khan, 70, who is facing more than 100 cases ranging from corruption to terrorism, said he sympathises with everyone who was forced to leave the party.

Elahi, who was a close aide to military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, was appointed as the president of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in March this year after quitting his former party – the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).

On May 9, violent protests erupted after the arrest of Khan, Chairman of PTI, by paramilitary Rangers in Islamabad. His party workers vandalised over 20 military installations and government buildings, including the Lahore Corps Commander House, Mianwali airbase and the ISI building in Faisalabad.

The Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi was also attacked by the mob for the first time. Khan was later released on bail.

The violence elicited a strong reaction from the government and military with vows of taking action against the culprits, leading to an ongoing crackdown against those involved.

Law enforcement agencies have arrested over 10,000 workers of Khan’s Pakistan party across Pakistan, 4,000 of them from Punjab province.

Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

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