PBC censures ‘manhandling’, arrest of Parvez Elahi

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Parvez Elahi’s alleged manhandling and rearrest under 3-MPO (Maintenance of Public Order) at the hands of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police a day earlier was strongly condemned by the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Saturday.

On Friday, the ICT police took the former Punjab chief minister into custody shortly after being released by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) despite the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) restraining order against his possible arrest.

In a statement, PBC Executive Committee Vice Chairperson Haroonur Rashid termed Elahi’s rearrest under 3-MPO “violation” of LHC’s order.

“His detention raised [serious] questions about the rule of law and use of power in [the country’s] political landscape.”

In order to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law in the country, everyone will have to comply with the court’s order, the PBC added.

“Courts should also take care while deciding on political matters that whether orders passed therein could be implemented or not,” read the statement.

After being released by the NAB on LHC’s order, the seasoned politician was put under house arrest in Adiala jail for 15 days.

Elahi challenges detention in IHC

Earlier today, the PTI president moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against his arrest under the 3-MPO.

In his petition, Elahi stated that he was being subjected to political victimisation and pleaded with the court to declare the Islamabad district magistrate’s order about his arrest under 3-MPO “illegal”

The former Punjab chief minister urged the IHC to nullify the magistrate’s order and issue directives for his release.

Earlier, the LHC ordered the anti-graft watchdog to release Elahi.

The former provincial chief executive had filed a petition against NAB’s move to arrest him in a corruption case.

LHC Justice Amjad Rafiq announced the verdict after Elahi was presented before the court.

During the hearing, Justice Rafiq warned NAB that the court would issue a warrant against the accountability body’s director-general if Elahi was not produced that day.

Justice Rafiq said that a complete inquiry into his arrest will be conducted. “I am ordering to release Parvez Elahi on an immediate basis,” remarked the judge.

Speaking to media persons after the hearing, Elahi said: “I thank God for the judge’s order for my release and I thank everyone who prayed for me.”

On August 29, the PTI leader moved the court to challenge his detention claiming that his arrest was in violation of the LHC’s orders restricting the authorities from arresting Elahi in any undisclosed FIR or pending inquiry.

NAB had accused Elahi of receiving over Rs1 billion as kickbacks through intermediaries in more than 200 development projects of Gujrat district, during his second term as chief minister of Punjab.

Elahi was initially arrested on June 1 from outside his residence in a Rs70 million graft case related to the embezzlement of development funds allocated for the Gujrat district.

Since then, Imran Khan’s aide has been behind bars on various charges. During a span of around two and half months, the PTI leader was released multiple times on the courts’ orders but was rearrested immediately every time.

He was taken into custody during a crackdown launched against the party’s leadership following the May 9 riots.

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