Elahi released without a press conference

LHC approves bail in corruption case; ex-Punjab CM says he will remain steadfast with PTI founder

Rana Yasif May 21, 2024
Former Punjab chief minister Pervez Elahi meets family members after reaching his residence in Gujrat May 21, 2024. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, President of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former Punjab Chief Minister, emerged from a yearlong legal battle on Tuesday, securing his release from prison without the usual press conference.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered his release, surprising many and fuelling speculation about underlying reasons for his sudden freedom. While previous instances saw PTI members released on bail only to be re-arrested, this time was different.

Despite a previous order from LHC Justice Muhammad Amjad Rafiq instructing authorities to refrain from re-arresting Elahi, he was swiftly detained by Islamabad police shortly after his release. Nevertheless, on Tuesday, Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmed granted him post-arrest bail in a case related to alleged illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly.
PTI supporters lauded Elahi's resilience against the system, hailing him as a true soldier of PTI founder Imran Khan.

However, skeptics on social media questioned whether his release was the result of undisclosed commitments.

Earlier in the day, Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmed accepted Elahi’s bail petition, citing the need for further investigation into the allegations against him.

Elahi's bail was granted upon furnishing a bond of Rs500,000. The case against him, which dates back to June 3, 2023, involves charges under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947, stemming from alleged illegal recruitments in the Punjab Assembly.

Elahi's legal journey has been tumultuous, marked by conditional bail grants and subsequent dismissals. Despite setbacks, he persisted, eventually securing bail anew after a fresh application to the court.

On Tuesday, Elahi was released from the Kot Lakhpat jail after LHC Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmed, announced his reserved ruling, granting him post-arrest bail in a case registered against him over making money through illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly.

The first information report (FIR) of the case was lodged at the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) police station, Lahore, after an inquiry into the alleged illegal recruitments of lower ranks staff in the Punjab Assembly.

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Elahi had applied for the bail on June 5, 2023, which was conditionally granted by the district and session judge and special anti-corruption judge. However, the plea was taken back on October 11, 2023 and on November 7, 2023 the court dismissed the petition.

The judge remarked that in the peculiar circumstances of the case, the petitioner was not precluded from filing fresh application before the court concerned. Consequently, Elahi approached the anti-corruption court again on March 13, 2024, but his bail plea was dismissed on March 27, 2024.

In the LHC, Elahi’s counsel Amir Saeed Rawn argued that the alleged recovery of Rs4,100,000 was of no help to the prosecution because the number of currency notes or specifications were neither given in the FIR, nor was the recovery mentioned in memorandum.

He argued that evidence collected and relied upon by the prosecution itself created a reasonable doubt about the prosecution’s case. Therefore, he added that petitioner was entitled to benefit. He also contended that forgery was attributed to the petitioner in the FIR, but the allegation was “implausible”.

Rawn contended that the ACE registered the case after two years of the occurrence of the alleged crime, and nothing was available on record to establish any nexus between Elahi and those allegations. He argued that politically-motivated cases were being registered merely to humiliate Elahi.

While opposing the petition on the other hand, a law officer argued that evidence was available to establish Elahi’s nexus with those illegal appointments. In his arguments, the law officer focused on the gravity of offence, stating that in such offences bail should be denied.

Following his release, Elahi reached his house. He also issued a picture of him with his family along with a statement on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter. He stated that he stood firmly with the PTI founder and would continue to stay with him.

“I am very grateful to Allah for making me exonerated and encouraging me to remain steadfast. I am grateful to those judges who supported the truth and I was released. I am also grateful to all those who prayed for me and supported me in this difficult time,” Elahi wrote in his tweet.

The former chief minister said that the people of his home district of Gujrat suffered a lot of oppression. “Even our mandate [in February elections] was stolen in Gujrat,” he said, adding that there would be no talks with the children of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, until their stolen mandate was returned.

“There will be no talk with them until the people forgive them, who were oppressed in Gujrat. Mohsin Naqvi played the most important role in arresting me and committing excesses against me. I was with Imran Khan, founding chairman of PTI, I am and I will remain with him, Insha-Allah,” he concluded.

Elahi was arrested outside his residence in Lahore on June 2 last year in connection with a corruption case. In almost a year, he was rearrested for over a dozen times, whenever, he got relief from the courts, including the LHC.


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