LAHORE     -    Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership is visibly at odds with Punjab Chief Minister Ch Parvez Elahi over the trickiest issue of Shahbaz Gill’s detention and the ‘most pressing’ matter of holding the police officials accountable for their alleged acts of persecution during PTI’s protest march on May 25.

The episode of Shahbaz Gill’s prosecution by the federal authorities for his rants against the Pakistan Army has become a multi-dimensional issue with implications for the PTI and other stakeholders. This issue is not only affecting its relationship with its own party’s government in Punjab, but also causing further dent in the already soured relations with the military establishment. Yesterday’s late night attempt by the PTI leaders to get Shahbaz Gill shifted to a hospital controlled by the Punjab government brought the federal and the Punjab government  face to face, although he was eventually taken to PIMS in Islamabad after the Punjab government gave in to the federal authorities.

In the given situation, it is hard for Punjab Chief Minister Ch Parvez Elahi to detract from his stated position on Shahbaz Gill’s controversial tirade and his policy statement on not being revengeful against the civil and police officers for their alleged involvement in May 25 incidents.

On the issue of Shahbaz Gill’s spout, Parvez Elahi had taken a firm stance by condemning his remarks in unequivocal terms. Reportedly, the chief minister is not happy with the way the issue of Gill’s shifting from prison to the hospital was handled by the PTI leadership. The issue of PTI chairman Imran Khan and his associates directly calling the Additional Chief Secretary Home and the IG Prisons has certainly been in a very bad taste, according to sources in the PML-Q. Also, the officers have reportedly complained to the chief minister about this ‘outside’ intervention in their domain. The PTI leadership wanted to shift Gill to DHQ Hospital Rawalpindi from Adiala Jail on medical grounds. However, according to the relevant rules, a prisoner of the federal government can only be hospitalised in a health facility under its control.

Circles close to Ch Parvez Elahi believe that the developing situation might cause further tension in relations between the PTI chief and the chief minister who is mindful of the sensitivities of the establishment on Gill’s issue. The astute politician from Gujrat has been a strong advocate of maintaining friendly relations with the army as an institution. He had even consulted the top military leadership before taking a decision whether to support the PTI or the PDM on the issue of a no-trust motion against the former Prime Minister Imran Khan. It was only then he was told to take his own decision that he chose to side with Imran Khan.

Since becoming the chief minister, Ch Parvez Elahi has also tried to impress upon the PTI chief Imran Khan to have cordial terms with the army. He has even offered to play the role of a bridge between the two, but all his efforts to persuade the PTI leader have not been successful so far.

Also, the PTI leaders are adamant to punish the officers who had a role in raiding the residences of the PTI leaders and the activists on May 25 to stop them from joining the long march protest. Ch Parvez Elahi, on the other hand, has been consistent in his stance that there should be no vindictive action against the bureaucracy. Punjab Home Minister Col. (R) Hashim Khan on Wednesday expressed his annoyance over non-registration of FIR against the responsible persons. He also called the concerned officers to do the needful to initiate further action.