Parvez Elahi arrested again after court discharges him in Lahore Master Plan case

LAHORE  -  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Pres­ident Chaudhry Parvez Elahi was re­portedly arrested again on Sunday after an anti-corruption court in La­hore discharged him in a corruption case related to the Lahore Master Plan 2050, marking yet another in­stance of his frequent arrests. “They (officials) said he has been arrest­ed in a terrorism case and was being taken to Adiala Jail in Rawalpin­di,” said his lawyer Rana Intezar Hussain. Elahi is among sever­al PTI leaders and workers who have been arrested amid the state’s crackdown on the PTI leadership following the violent riots in the country after Im­ran’s first arrest on May 9.

He was presented in the court today following his arrest by the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment’s (ACE) in Rawalpin­di yesterday, which according to another one of his lawyers Sardar Abdul Razzaq was the 12th time the PTI leader was detained since June 1 following the May 9 episode.

While the hearing was under way, Elahi’s lawyer Hussain told media that “anti-corruption of­ficials have sought Elahi’s physi­cal remand while we are oppos­ing their request”.

The court earlier reserved its decision on the ACE’s request and later dismissed Elahi, dis­charging him in the case.

In its written order issued in the evening, the court said: “Dis­charge never amounts to acquit­tal because acquittal is sweet will of learned trial court which is fully competent to summon the accused to face trial even if he was discharged.” It further ruled that “no incriminating material” was available against the accused which could con­nect him with the commission of the alleged offence. “Hence, the accused person namely Chaudhry Parvez Elahi is here­by discharged in this case.”

The court also instructed au­thorities to immediately release the PTI president if he was not required in any other case.

Elahi was charged under Sec­tions 109 (punishment of abet­ment if the Act abetted commit­ted in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment), 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public ser­vant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating and dishon­estly inducing delivery of proper­ty), 467 (forgery of valuable se­curity, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged docu­ment) of the Pakistan Penal Code as well as Section 5 (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 in the case.

The printed first information report (FIR), had details of the time of reporting and sections in­voked filled in with pen. It was registered on July 19 at the La­hore ACE police station on the complaint of Lahore ACE offi­cer Tariq Mehmood. According to the FIR, in March 2021, then-CM Elahi misused his authority and colluded with Lahore Devel­opment Authority Director Amir Ahmed Khan to illegally alter the draft of the Lahore Master Plan 2050 and include Kotli Rai Abu Bakar — an area in Kasur district — in it.As a result, the value of the land owned by Elahi’s sons, Moonis Elahi and Rasikh Elahi, in Kotli Rai Abu Bakar increased manifold, the FIR alleged.The provincial anti-corruption au­thorities had taken him into cus­tody in the case from Adiala Jail in the garrison city, where he was detained in a riots case. After his arrest, Elahi was presented in an Islamabad court, which grant­ed the ACE one-day transit re­mand of PTI president for him to be produced in the relevant an­ti-corruption court in Lahore to­day. After May 9, Elahi was first taken into custody on June 1 from outside his Lahore residence by the Anti-Corruption Establish­ment (ACE), Gujrat for alleged­ly taking kickbacks in develop­ment projects. The next day, a Lahore court discharged him in the case but only for the ACE to re-arrest him in a case registered in the Gujranwala region. In this case, Elahi was accused of caus­ing a Rs100 million loss to the national exchequer and receiving kickbacks during his time as the Punjab chief minister. A day after his re-arrest, a Gujranwala court also discharged Elahi in two cor­ruption cases, including the one in which he was detained on June 2. But freedom still eluded him as he was again re-arrested by anti-graft officials in a case per­taining to “illegal recruitments” in the Punjab Assembly.

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