Déjà vu as Parvez Elahi arrested for third time

LAHORE, (MANEND NEWS): In an interesting turn of events, a trial court on Saturday discharged Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Dr Yasmin Rashid along with 23 others, accused of vandalising the Corps Commander House (Jinnah House) in Lahore on May 9 and ordered authorities to set her free.

Separately, a court in Gujranwala also acquitted former Punjab chief minister and PTI President Parvez Elahi in two separate corruption cases. However, Punjab’s anti-corruption watchdog re-arrested Elahi soon after his release in a fresh case involving “illegal appointments”.

On Saturday, the police presented 126 accused before an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore.

The prosecutor told ATC Administrative Judge Abher Gul Khan that the procedure for identification of 102 accused had been completed while 24 of the accused, including Dr Yasmin Rashid, were yet to go through the process.

The investigation officer (IO) requested the court to remand Dr Rashid in police custody for 14 more days for further investigation involving photogrammetry, voice match tests and recovery of mobile phones.

Judge Khan, however, discharged Dr Rashid, who also served as a provincial minister in the cabinet of Usman Buzdar, along with 23 other accused.

In a brief order issued after the hearing, the judge said perusal of record revealed that Dr Rashid was neither nominated in the first information report (FIR) lodged after the May 9 vandalism in Lahore nor involved in the case through a supplementary statement.

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“She was summoned in the case on the disclosure of a co-accused which has no evidentiary value in the eyes of the law. Since no incriminating evidence is available on record to connect her with the commission of [the offense], therefore the request of the IO is turned down…

“She is accordingly discharged from the instant case. She [will] be forthwith released, if not required in any other case,” the order said. The ATC judge, however, remanded 13 female accused in judicial custody while 89 others in seven-day physical remand in the same case.

The judge also directed the IO to visit the jail for the purpose of interrogating the female accused.

Earlier, the ATC had also discharged 20 other people accused of disturbing law and order, blocking roads, creating chaos and arson after they could not be identified during the identification parade.

When the proceeding started, the IO told the court that the accused persons—including Kashif Noor, Mohsin Farooq, Usman, Muhammad Umar, Hassan Tariq, Taha Khalid, Fahad Masood, Mian Farooq, Akmal Khan—could not be identified during the identification parade.

Elahi’s dilemma

Former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi, who joined the PTI in March this year, was probably not expecting that Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) would produce another case from its satchel as soon as he got acquitted in two other cases.

On Saturday, a duty judicial magistrate in Gujranwala unveiled his order, acquitting Elahi into separate corruption cases related to construction of roads. However, soon after his acquittal in the case the ACE rearrested Elahi in a new case related to illegal hiring.

In a statement, the ACE claimed that Parvez Elahi with the connivance of Punjab Assembly Secretary Rai Mumtaz Hussain got ineligible candidates hired to posts from grade-12 to grade-17. “We have ample evidence of corruption in the hiring process. Parvez Elahi has been arrested as per law,” it said.

It claimed that “failed candidates” were hired by changing the record and hiring a fake testing service.

Commenting on the Gujranwala court’s acquittal order, the ACE took exception to the technical points raised in the order. It said it is going to file an appeal against the verdict. “In both the cases, important legal points were overlooked,” it said.

The ACE with the help of Punjab Police on Thursday arrested Chaudhry Parvez Elahi from near his Lahore residence while executing the order of the special judge of an anti-corruption court in Lahore who issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the former Punjab CM.

On Friday, a district court discharged the former Punjab chief minister in the corruption case. In the order, the court termed the case against Elahi not “well-founded”.

“The matter requires further probe and inquiry before levelling any allegation against the accused,” it said and ordered the PTI leader’s “immediate release if not required in any other criminal case”.

However, Elahi, was re-arrested from outside the court premises by ACE Gujranwala in a separate case.

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