Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi has been shifted to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on Sunday soon after a judicial magistrate discharged him in a case of alleged corruption in the Lahore Master Plan 2050, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Elahi — who is among several PTI leaders and workers arrested amid the state’s crackdown after May 9 violent protests — was presented before the court following his arrest by the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) in Rawalpindi on Saturday. It was the 12th time former Punjab Chief Minister Elahi was detained since June 1, one of his lawyers said.
According to the Pakistan-based Dawn, the ACE team presented Elahi before the magistrate to secure his physical remand. Advocate Rana Intizar Hussain, president of the Lahore Bar Association, appeared on behalf of Elahi and rebutted the ACE’s arguments. Hussian said that Elahi’s arrest clearly violated a contempt petition pending before the Lahore High Court (LHC).
Advocate Hussain also requested the court to start contempt proceedings against the investigating officer who had arrested the PTI President. After hearing the arguments and examining the record, Judicial Magistrate Rehanul Hassan said that the prosecutor had admitted that no wrongful loss was caused by the suspect to any company or any government institution or department, including the Lahore Development Authority.
The magistrate said that the case was based on statements made by the director of the master plan and the chief metropolitan planner, who had not been treated as suspects. He called it surprising that those who misused their authority as alleged in the FIR were enjoying liberty while Elahi was detained despite having no direct role.
While releasing Elahi, the magistrate said, “The discharge never amounts to an acquittal because acquittal is the sweet will of the learned trial court, which is fully competent to summon the accused to face trial even if he was discharged,” Dawn reported.
He said no incriminating material was apparently available against the suspect that could relate him to the alleged offence. He further said that Chaudhry Parvez Elahi is hereby discharged in the case.
Separately, the magistrate permitted the ACE Lahore a one-day transit remand of Elahi to take him back to Adiala Jail for his subsequent production before an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad in a case connected to the May 9 riots.