LHC warns ACE of contempt in Pervaiz Elahi case

LAHORE, (MANEND NEWS): The Lahore High Court (LHC)’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh on Wednesday came down hard on Additional Director General of Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Waqas Hassan, warning him that he “will not be spared if contempt is established on [his] part” in former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi’s arrest case.

Justice Sheikh was hearing a plea filed by Elahi seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against ACE officials and the police high-ups for conducting a raid at his Lahore residence despite being granted protective bail in that case.

As proceedings commenced, replies were submitted on behalf of the respondents, Director General ACE Punjab Sohail Zafar Chatha, Additional DG ACE Punjab Waqas Hassan, SSP Operations Sohaib Ashraf and SP Model Town Ammara Shirazi.

The law officer told the court that there was confusion in the raid process, adding that the bail was granted to petitioner Elahi in FIR dated 6/2023 and the raid was to be conducted in FIR 7/2023 but mistakenly the record available with the ACE team had mentioned FIR 7/2023 rather than mentioning FIR 6/2023.

To this, Justice Sheikh observed that there are two points in the case, one is about a mistake as per the ATC officials’ stance and the second is about the remarks that the additional director general passed against the court during the raid.

“This court has summoned him in person in connection to his remarks,” the judge remarked.

“Sir, neither I committed any contempt of court nor cloud I even think about it,” Hassan told the court.

The LHC justice then sought an arrest warrant of Elahi that the ACE team took along with them during the raid. But the law officer parried this question and were unable to produce the warrant.

Meanwhile, the petitioner’s counsel Advocate Amir Saeed Rawn showed a video clip on his mobile wherein Hassan could be heard saying “he does not care if he has to face contempt charges”.

The anti-corruption official reportedly gave these remarks during the raid at Elahi’s residence when he was informed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader was granted bail in the matter in which the ACE team sought his arrest.

The law officer told the court that hundreds of cameras were there but only a clip containing two or three words could not establish contempt of court.

“The anti-corruption official is ready to tender an unconditional apology if this court believes this is a matter of contempt of court,” he maintained.

In his remarks, Justice Sheikh said that no replies have yet been submitted to the court. To this, the law officer said all replies are “here in his hands but there are some mistakes in them” and he wants to submit the replies by vetting them thoroughly.

The judge maintained that he had issued a show-cause notice to Additional DG Hassan but he did not submit a reply in that. Following this, Hassan withdrew his reply and ensured to submit it again in the show-cause notice.

Subsequently, the court summoned him in person again on May 4 (tomorrow) and directed him to submit his reply.

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