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Monday May 27, 2024

Terror case filed against Parvez Elahi, 18 others after late-night raid

PTI president's son has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court against "illegal" police action

By Ahmed Faraz & Shahid Hussain
April 29, 2023
Punjab Police tries to enter Parvez Elahis residence during an operation conducted late night to arrest the PTI president, on April 29, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — Twitter/@PTIofficial
Punjab Police tries to enter Parvez Elahi's residence during an operation conducted late night to arrest the PTI president, on April 29, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — Twitter/@PTIofficial

LAHORE: Hours after a heavy contingent of police raided Chaudhry Parvez Elahi's residence to arrest him, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) president was booked on terror charges.

The first information report (FIR) registered by Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) official at Lahore’s Ghalib Market Police Station mentioned that the police officials were “attacked with stones, batons and petrol bombs”.

Anti-corruption and police officials raided the residence of PTI President Parvez Elahi in Lahore on Friday night using an armoured vehicle to break open the main gate of the former Punjab chief minister’s Gulberg residence and arrested nearly 20 people, his employees and some party workers.

In the FIR, registered by ACE official Safdar Hussain, it was mentioned that the police arrested 19 people on the charges of terrorism and upon resistance during the raid.

"The ACE team carried out a raid at Parvez's house in a bid to arrest him," the FIR read.

The FIR —  a copy of which is available with TheNews.com.pk — mentioned that about 40-50 people present inside the residence pelted stones and resorted to violence. It also said that the people also threw petrol bombs at the police during which Parvez escaped from his house.

The FIR invoked Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, while others include:

  • Section 324 — attempted murder
  • Section 353 — assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty
  • Section 109 — abetment
  • Section 147 — punishment for rioting
  • Section 148 — rioting, armed with deadly weapon
  • Section 149 — every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object
  • Section 186 — obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions,
  • Section 212 — harbouring offender
  • and sections 427, 436 and 440 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Parvez Elahi's son moves LHC

Meanwhile, Parvez's his son — Rasikh Elahi — filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the "illegal" act.

Rasikh, in his petition, made the Punjab government, ACE and inspector general (IG) of Punjab parties, and urged the court to intervene.

The petition termed the late-night raid "illegal and a violation of fundamental rights". It added that the court had granted bail to Elahi in the anti-corruption case till May 6.

The petition also requested the court to pass an order "to clear the Zahoor Ellahi Road from the illegal occupation of police and direction to be issued to respondents to vacate the house of petitioner and if there is any FIR against the petitioner that should be brought before this Honourable Court."

It further requested the court to ensure the fundamental rights of the petitioner and direct be issued to stop the raid/operation and not arrest Elahi till the expiry of his bail.

Rasikh also requested the court to take action against those involved in the "illegal raid and have misused their powers and violated the fundamental rights of the petitioner."

How did the operation fare?

During the six-hour raid that ended at 6am on Saturday, the police officials thoroughly searched the house but could not find Parvez. They also tried to force their entry into the adjoining residence of PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, but they were resisted by Shujaat’s sons.

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. The police claim that stones were pelted at them, which injured police personnel and journalists covering the incident.

SP Ammara Shirazi, accompanied by a team of female police officers, entered Elahi's house. They came back from the house after a brief search.

The police and anti-corruption officials partially halted their operation, claiming that although Elahi is not present at his residence, his mobile phone's location shows that he is present inside. But after information from the arrested house help that Elahi is present inside the residence, they resumed the search operation.

Several individuals, including servants working in the household of the former Punjab chief minister and PTI workers protesting at the scene, were arrested by the police.

The police also cordoned off the Chaudhary Zahoor Elahi Road outside the residence during the operation.

The hours-long police action came to a halt after Sohail Zafar Chattha, the Director General of Punjab's Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), left the scene along with the police contingent.

The raid came hours after the PTI and Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government held talks on election dates, with the former calling for stopping of their workers' arrests, warning that the talks might derail if the law enforcers' actions do not come to a halt.