In a surprising development today, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued an order for the immediate release of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, the Central President of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This decision also includes a ban on his arrest in any ongoing or future cases, marking a significant twist in the legal proceedings against him.
The verdict was delivered during a hearing at the Lahore High Court, with Justice Amjad Rafiq presiding over the matter. The case revolved around the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s arrest of Parvez Elahi on allegations of receiving bribes and kickbacks in exchange for securing contracts for road schemes in the Gujrat Highways Division.
In a post-hearing media briefing, Parvez Elahi did not hold back in his criticism of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), a rival political party.
“When the PML-N has been in power, they have consistently contributed to rising inflation and have been responsible for economic hardships, often leading to their members seeking refuge in London,” Mr. Elahi stated emphatically.
The former Punjab executive also expressed concern about the impact of PML-N’s policies on the nation and pointed out that even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had suggested the need for elections.
During the proceedings, the court issued a directive to the NAB, instructing them to produce Chaudhry Parvez Elahi within one hour. In compliance with this order, the Lahore chapter of the anti-graft watchdog promptly presented Mr. Elahi before the court, implementing stringent security measures for the occasion.
Justice Amjad Rafiq, during the hearing, questioned the NAB prosecutor about the status of an intra-court appeal, to which the prosecutor claimed ignorance. In response, Justice Rafiq asserted that a thorough inquiry would be conducted and promptly ordered Parvez Elahi’s release.
Justice Amjad Rafiq also expressed concern about the situation, emphasizing that judges should not be made into accused individuals. He gave clear instructions, stating that Parvez Elahi had been presented in the trial court on multiple occasions. If the Punjab government failed to cooperate with the NAB in the matter of security, the court reserved the right to issue an arrest warrant by the Director-General of NAB if deemed necessary.
During the proceedings, the NAB prosecutor urged Justice Amjad Rafiq to ensure security matters through the Punjab government, which was currently engaged in an operation in the Kutch area, utilizing their bullet-proof armored vehicles.
In response, the lawyer representing the Punjab government presented a letter detailing security concerns in court, explaining the ongoing police operation and the use of their armored vehicles. The NAB prosecutor, emphasizing the gravity of the situation, cautioned that without adequate security measures, there would be significant risks.
Today’s ruling by the Lahore High Court has stirred conversations across Pakistan, with various political parties and stakeholders closely watching the developments. The release of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and the ban on his arrest in future cases have raised questions about the state of law and order in the country, adding another layer of complexity to Pakistan’s political landscape.