‘Arrests no less than drama’: LHC summons DG NAB to explain Pervaiz Elahi’s rearrest tomorrow

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Justice Muhammad Amjad Rafiq on Wednesday expressed his ire over the arrest of PTI President Ch Pervaiz Elahi, saying these arrests one after the other of politicians are no less than a “drama”, and summoned the National Accountability Bureau DG on Thursday (tomorrow) to explain arrest of the ex-Punjab CM….CONTINUE READING

“How was an inquiry initiated during the night and why was Pervaiz Elahi arrested. A detention order was issued and two new FIRs were lodged but why was the court not intimated about these cases when asked about all disclosed, undisclosed and blind inquiries and investigations,” remarked Justice Rafiq.

Justice Muhammad Amjad Rafiq was hearing a petition filed by PTI President Ch Pervaiz Elahi challenging his arrest by the top graft watchdog.

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The court expressed displeasure over the repeated issuance of detention orders and multiple FIRs, often despite court orders to the contrary, in seemingly politically motivated cases.

The court summoned the NAB DG in person at the next hearing tomorrow and directed the anti-graft bureau’s prosecutor to submit a comprehensive report.

Additional Advocate General of Pakistan Ghulam Sarwar Nihung appeared before the court on behalf of the federal agency.

Justice Rafiq inquired whether AAG Nihung was authorised to appear in this case and when the law officer replied in the affirmative, the court briefly adjourned proceedings directing him to submit an authority letter in this regard.

When the proceedings resumed, Punjab Advocate General Khalid Ishaq Dar apprised the court that Nihung is a competent officer who has appeared in several cases and has been assigned to this case as well given his competency.

While presenting arguments, Nihung cited the LHC order referred to in Elahi’s petition and contended that the bench had not issued any directions for NAB.

At this, Elahi’s counsel replied that the anti-graft body had assured the court that no inquiry was pending against the PTI president.

Justice Rafiq asked whether NAB was aware of the court’s order. It is correct that NAB has not been discussed in the order, he said, adding that this was likely because the graft watchdog had submitted in its reply that no inquiry was pending.

The NAB prosecutor was summoned. He argued that court orders were complied with while maintaining that NAB was not referred to in them.

When the latter sought an extension to submit a detailed report, Justice Rafiq asked him to appear tomorrow and apprise the court of the current status of the inquiry in question.

Yesterday, Ch Pervaiz Elahi had approached the LHC, challenging his arrest by NAB “in violation of the high court orders.”

The petition, filed on the former CM’s behalf by his counsel Amid Saeed Rawn, referred to LHC’s order restraining law enforcement authorities from arresting Elahi in any blind or undisclosed FIRs or pending inquiries.

Pervaiz Elahi’s counsel contended that despite being granted protective bail for two disclosed FIRs and a restraining order acquired against blind or undisclosed FIRs and inquiries, Elahi was not released from Lahore district jail on July 15, when his counsel approached prison authorities.

The grounds cited for keeping Pervaiz Elahi behind bars were a detention order allegedly issued by the Lahore deputy commissioner but that order was in fact not actually issued till July 16, 2023, according to the petition.

Pervaiz Elahi’s counsel has further stated that an inquiry was initiated by NAB on June 9, 2023, which was then upgraded into an investigation on July 18, 2023.

NAB then issued an arrest warrant on August 11 and took Elahi into custody on August 14, according to the petition, which adds that Elahi was informed of another inquiry-turned-investigation through a call-up notice issued on August 25 while the former CM remains in the bureau’s custody.

The petition moved the court to bar all the respondents from arresting Elahi in all undisclosed criminal cases, inquiries or investigations and ensure his release for “at least a reasonable time as the court may deem appropriate” so the former CM has the opportunity to approach the courts of law.

An accountability court had remanded Pervaiz Elahi in NAB custody for one week on August 15 in connection with a case related to the alleged award of illegal contracts during his second term as the Punjab CM.

He was arrested a day prior by the country’s top graft buster from outside Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi minutes after his release on the conclusion of his 30-day detention period.

The former Punjab CM has been under arrest multiple times since May 9 riots….CONTINUE READING

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