Police, ACE overnight raid at Parvez Elahi's residence riles PTI
The anti-corruption team conducted operation late at night at the residence of former CM Punjab
Lahore (Dunya News) - A Punjab police and Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) team on Friday night raided Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Parvez Elahi's residence, but after six-hour long operation, failed to apprehend the former chief minister.
The action drew strong criticism from the PTI which has already been voicing concern against the arrest of its workers and leaders. The police action came to a halt when Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab Director General Sohail Zafar Chattha left the scene along with the police contingent.
Mr Chattha, while speaking to the media at the former chief minister's residence, denied committing any wrongdoing. He said the security forces acted in accordance with law, claiming that a petrol bomb was thrown at the police party who was there to arrest Mr Elahi. He added that the action was started by the people present at Mr Elahi's residence and they were not cooperating with police.
The PTI had challenged appointment of Mr Chattha as the ACE head. Imran Khan-led party also challenged the decision of the Punjab caretaker government in court in February this year.
The anti-corruption team conducted the operation late at night at the residence of the former chief minister of Punjab in a case registered in Gujranwala and detained 27 people. Sources said those detained by the police from the residence of Parvez Elahi were his employees.
As a heavy contingent of police, along with anti-corruption officials, raided Mr Elahi's house, police also cordoned off Chaudhary Zahoor Elahi Road outside the residence during the operation. An armoured personnel carrier (APC) of police broke the main gate of the residence after the people inside the house resisted the law enforcers and tried to stop the arrest. Police claimed that stones were pelted at them, which injured police personnel and journalists covering the incident.
SP Ammara Shirazi, accompanied by a team of women police officers, entered Mr Elahi's house. Parvez Elahi's lawyer Amir Saeed said police officials intended to arrest his client despite the fact that he was granted bail in the case by the Lahore High Court (LHC). Officials of the ACE demanded to see court's bail order during the raid.
-- Condemnations --
Parvez Elahi's son Moonis Elahi slammed the police action, saying the Punjab police had arrived at their residence to arrest his father, though he was granted bail in the case earlier on Friday.
— Moonis Elahi (@MoonisElahi6) April 28, 2023
Speaking to the media, Mr Elahi's lawyer stated that LHC's Justice Tariq Saleem Shaikh had granted his client pre-arrest bail until May 6. Mr Saeed added that the order of the high court was always received the next day. "We have made them talk to court's official over the issue," he said.
Police officials said that they had visited Parvez Elahi’s residence to tell him that he was not granted bail in the case but the police had to take action on resistance. Chaudhry Shafi's hand was injured when police broke glasses of the house, while anti-corruption officials believed that Parvez Elahi was hiding in Shujaat's house to avoid arrest. Anti-corruption officials said the operation would continue for Pervez Elahi is arrest.
The police also broke the door of Chaudhry Shujaat's house and allegedly tortured Chaudhry Salik and Chaudhry Shafey. They also ransacked the house. On inquiry and introduction, police asked Chaudhry Salik and Shafey to leave the house. Both of them said they had no connection with Parvez Elahi. Police made it clear that they would not leave without a thorough search.
Police searched the houses of Parvez Elahi, Wajahat and Shujaat but could not find Parvez Elahi. Later, the women officials were sent to the houses for a detailed search and they had to face resistance.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan condemned the police raid on Parvez Elahi's house and said there was a law of the jungle prevailing in the country. “The misbehaviour with the women of Parvez Elahi's house is unacceptable; we are witnessing the loss of democracy in front of our eyes."
Imran Khan further said, “Enough is enough. I have not seen such brutality even in Musharraf's martial law. Today I will give the nation a roadmap to stand against the violation of the constitution and democracy'.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 28, 2023
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhary condemned the raid and said this action had made it clear that the government's negotiating committee and federal ministers had no importance.
He wrote, “On one side negotiations, on the other side arrests? The raid on Parvez Elahi's house proved that Ishaq Dar, Saad Rafiq and Azam Tarar had no position in their government, strongly condemn this raid.”
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) April 28, 2023
PTI leader Farrukh Habib also condemned and wrote that the fascist government had become blinded by power, the house of Parvez Elahi was attacked, the doors of the house were broken. The sanctity of the four walls was being violated. Parvez Elahi dissolved the Punjab Assembly and was being punished for it.
Lahore High Court Bar Association Vice President Rabia Bajwa strongly condemned the police attack and said the use of state power was a negation of democratic principles and law, a clear deviation from the decision of the Lahore High Court and a mockery of it. It was akin to violating the sanctity of the home which was the worst example of a civilian martial law, she said.