Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Qaiser was arrested from his residence in Islamabad’s Bani Gala area on Friday, according to his brother.
The former National Assembly speaker was taken into custody by police and Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) personnel for alleged corrupt practices related to the purchase of medical equipment for Gajju Khan Medical College in Swabi. Reportedly, he has been shifted to Bani Gala Police Station before being handed to the ACE Swabi officials for further investigation.
According to the First Information Report (FIR) registered against the PTI leader, he and four officials of the health department are accused of misusing funds and medical equipment in the medical college. Registered on the complaint of former ACE investigation officer Hidayat Shah, the FIR alleges the five suspects caused Rs. 16.456 million in losses to the treasury by “stealing” equipment and purchasing substandard furniture for the facility.
Qaiser was produced in the lower court on Saturday (today) for transit remand to shift him to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Condemning the arrest, the PTI described it as a bid to manipulate elections, which the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced would take place on Feb. 8, 2024. “Asad Qaiser’s arrest is a question mark on the role of the ECP in staging fair polls,” read the PTI’s statement. “The series of leaders’ arrests is a conspiracy to keep PTI out of the election race,” it said, urging the ECP to ensure a “level-playing field” for all political parties ahead of polls.