PTI leader and former federal minister Moonis Elahi has said his father Chaudhry Parvez Elahi was “abducted” from outside the latter’s residence in Lahore on Friday, hours after he was released in a graft case.
Taking to social media platform X (erstwhile Twitter), Moonis said: “After the high court’s orders and on the judge’s instructions police including court security were taking my father home.
“As the car entered our street, it was stopped and he was abducted.”
He added that if courts were going to be “ridiculed like this maybe they should officially declare it”.
Footage broadcast on television channels showed men in plain clothes accompanied by uniformed Punjab policemen dragging the former Punjab chief minister out of his vehicle. Lawyer Latif Khosa can also be seen in the clip. He was sitting next to Elahi and was pulled out of the vehicle so the men could reach the former Punjab chief minister.
The police have not commented on the development yet and it is not clear whose custody Elahi is in at this point.
Elahi’s arrest comes hours after the Lahore High Court ordered the National Accountability to release the PTI president and barred authorities from arresting him in any case.
Elahi is among several PTI leaders and workers who have been arrested amid the state’s crackdown on the PTI leadership following the May 9 riots during protests over party chief Imran Khan being whisked away by paramilitary personnel at the Islamabad High Court premises.
He was first arrested on June 1 but was deprived of his freedom repeatedly and dragged in on several graft cases.
Earlier in the day, the LHC ordered the NAB to release Elahi in a case of allegedly receiving bribes/kickbacks in exchange for getting the “contracts of road schemes of Gujrat Highways Division awarded to favourite/hand-picked contractors”.
At the outset of the hearing today, Justice Amjad Rafiq asked why Elahi was not presented in court.
In his reply, the NAB prosecutor said the accountability watchdog was prepared to bring the former chief minister to court but it received a letter from the Punjab government today detailing threats to Elahi’s life.
“The NAB had even asked the government for security to bring Elahi here [the court],” he said, adding that the Punjab deputy inspector general (DIG) had replied in a letter that bulletproof vehicles and police armoured vans were being used in the operation against riverine gangs.
The prosecutor added that the NAB was ready to present Elahi without security “but if something happens who will be responsible”.
Here, Elahi’s lawyer Rana Intizar Hussain said, “We are ready to provide a bulletproof vehicle.”
Subsequently, the court ordered the anti-graft body to present the PTI president within an hour and warned that it would otherwise issue arrest warrants for the Punjab DIG.
At around 12:15pm, the NAB presented Elahi in court. However, Justice Rafiq once again asked why the accountability bureau was hesitant to present the former chief minister in court.
He then ordered Elahi’s release and barred authorities from arresting him in any other case.
In a written order issued in the afternoon, the court said Elahi’s custody in the NAB “is found in an unlawful manner”.
It added: “The petitioner shall not be arrested in terms mentioned therein including the NAB or any other authority/agency/office etc, nor shall be detained under any laws relating to preventive detention.”
Talking to reporters after his release today, Elahi held the PML-N responsible for the current state of the economy. “All of them have run off to London after ruining the economy,” he said.
“They have kept me inside, I don’t even know what is happening in the country,” the PTI president added.
Timeline of arrests and rearrests
Elahi was first taken into custody on June 1 from outside his Lahore residence by the ACE for allegedly taking kickbacks in development projects.
The next day, he was discharged by a Lahore court but was rearrested by the ACE in a similar case registered in its Gujranwala region. However, a Gujranwala court had then discharged him on June 3 in two corruption cases pertaining to the embezzlement of funds.
Nevertheless, even after being discharged, the ACE then rearrested Elahi for “illegal recruitments” in the Punjab Assembly.
On June 9, a special anti-corruption court had given the ACE a “last opportunity” to present the record of the illegal appointments case.
The same day, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) came into action and initiated another inquiry against Elahi for his alleged involvement in embezzlement in development projects in Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin.
After a sessions court on June 12 had set aside a judicial magistrate’s decision of Elahi’s acquittal in the embezzlement case, the next day, a judicial magistrate again sent him to judicial lockup after the LHC suspended the said order of the sessions court.
On June 20, Elahi finally secured relief from an anti-corruption court in Lahore but could not be released from jail as orders for his release were not delivered to the prison administration.
The same day, the FIA booked him, his son Moonis Elahi and three others on charges of money laundering.
Subsequently, the next day, the FIA took him into custody from jail and he was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand in the money laundering case.
On June 26, a Lahore district court again sent Elahi to jail on a 14-day judicial remand in connection with a money laundering case, shortly after the FIA arrested him from outside the Camp Jail.
Then on July 4, a Lahore anti-terrorism court had dismissed Elahi’s post-arrest bail plea as not maintainable in a case of attacking a police team that raided his house to arrest him in an inquiry by the ACE.
About a week later, the LHC instructed Inspector General of Prisons IG Mian Farooq to address the PTI president’s complaints regarding the lack of basic facilities provided to him in jail.
On July 12, an FIA plea against the denial of Elahi’s physical remand in a case of unexplained banking transactions was dismissed by a Lahore sessions court.
Two days later, the LHC had restrained the police and the ACE from arresting the former Punjab chief minister in any undisclosed case. However, he was then detained at Lahore’s Camp Jail under Section 3 of the MPO.
Upon the completion of the MPO detention, the Lahore NAB team took Elahi into custody from the Adiala Jail in a graft case.
This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.