Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf President Parvez Elahi was on Friday re-arrested within hours of the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordering his release—this time by the Islamabad Police under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order.
Earlier, the LHC had ordered the former Punjab chief minister’s release from the custody of the National Accountability Bureau and barred authorities from re-arresting him in any other case. It had further directed Lahore Police to escort Elahi to his residence. However, when Elahi reached the entrance to his home, plain-clothed men halted his vehicle and dragged him out, with it subsequently being confirmed that he had been arrested once more and shifted to the federal capital.
According to local media, the PTI leader was initially to be placed under house arrest at Adiala jail for 15 days, but authorities later altered their plans and shifted him to Attock District Jail, where he has been detained in a special security barrack away from other prisoners.
Islamabad District Magistrate Irfan Nawaz Memon issued the order for Elahi’s latest arrest. In his order, he said that as an important leader of the PTI, it is feared that his release might disturb the law and order situation in Islamabad. As a consequence, read the order, the former chief minister was being detained for 15 days on the recommendation of senior superintendent of police (SSP) of the Special Branch and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) on the reports of the Divisional Intelligence Committee. It further said that Elahi had the right to challenge this order in court.
In a statement, the PTI’s Core Committee condemned Elahi’s arrest and demanded his immediate release. It has also been criticized by civil rights activists and legal experts, who say it appears a clear violation of the LHC orders barring any new arrest of the PTI leader.
Elahi was initially arrested on June 1 from outside his residence in a Rs. 70 million graft case related to the alleged embezzlement of development funds allocated for Gujrat district. Since then, he has been repeatedly released and re-arrested on various charges and by various institutions.