LAHORE: A magisterial court on Sunday refused the plea of the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), seeking physical remand of the PTI President Pervez Elahi in a case of alleged illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly. The court has sent Elahi to jail on 14-day judicial remand. The ACE produced Pervez Elahi before the court of Judicial Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza Virk. As the hearing commenced, ACE Director Jaam Salahuddin showed lack of confidence in the magistrate, saying that they had been instructed not to produce accused Elahi before his court. During the hearing, the judge remarked that he has no social media account and a malicious campaign had been launched against him. He said that he will decide the matter on merit as per the file and if the prosecution does not like the verdict, it can challenge it. The ACE counsel told the court that it is on record that a poor candidate securing 60 marks was rejected failed while the one getting eight marks selected. Advocate Rana Intizar, the counsel of Elahi, alleged that an interim minister was harassing lawyers and even copy of the FIR had not been provided to them.
The counsel argued that there was no other allegation against his client except changing the test results. The counsel argued that the Punjab Assembly speaker had the right to appoint anyone. The candidates had appeared for exams after which their results were sent to the Punjab Assembly secretary, interviews were conducted on the basis of merit and joining letters were issued to those who passed, the counsel argued. He said that no evidence was presented, incriminating his client. He implored the court to discharge his client from the allegations. Punjab Assembly Secretary Rai Mumtaz, who was arrested in this case, while recording his statement before the court, said that he was the coordination secretary in the Punjab Assembly at the time of alleged illegal appointments. He said that he was picked up and blindfolded last night while he was walking. He said that he was taken to the DG ACE who forced him to become a witness and testimony was forcefully recorded, Rai added. The court, after hearing the parties, sent Elahi to jail on judicial remand. Pervez Elahi, while talking to the media, said that they knew better who was behind the cases against him, saying the police did not have anything to do with it. “I am sending a message for the first time to those who are actually doing all these things,” he said, adding that the army is a big institution and is our own and we are not against it. He implored: “Sit down with us and tell us the way forward for the benefit of the country. I will correct the PTI chief on his mistakes.” He said that he was ready to face even 100 cases and asked the PTI workers to stay firm and put. According to ACE, the case of illegal appointments shows Elahi recruited 12 Grade-17 officers in the Punjab Assembly against merit. Elahi got changed the results of these candidates belonging to Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin, the ACE alleged.
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