FILE - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party president Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. (Photo | AFP)
FILE - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party president Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. (Photo | AFP)

PTI president and Imran Khan's close aide Chaudhry Pervez Elahi arrested

The former Punjab chief minister's arrest comes amidst the powerful establishment's efforts to break the party of Khan.

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party president Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, a close aide to former prime minister Imran Khan, was arrested outside his residence here on Thursday, the party said.

"Shameful how the regime doesn't stop their fascism. The inflation has skyrocketed to 38%, and their response is arresting former CM Punjab Parvez Elahi. Absolutely ridiculous," the party tweeted along with a video in which the 77-year-old leader was seen being dragged by security personnel from his residence, Zahoor Elahi.

The former Punjab chief minister's arrest comes amidst the powerful establishment's efforts to break the party of Khan. Currently, over 100 PTI leaders and former lawmakers have quit Khan's party following May 9 attacks on military installations in the country.

Khan, 70, who is facing more than 100 cases ranging from corruption to terrorism, said he sympathises with everyone who were forced to leave the party.

Elahi also had immense pressure to say goodbye to Khan.

"The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) arrested Elahi outside his Lahore residence for his alleged involvement in corruption and misuse of authority in some road projects," an ACE spokesperson said in a statement. He said Elahi will be produced before court on Friday for a physical remand.

Elahi's son and former federal minister Moonis Elahi said despite the fascist act of the government his family will stay with Imran Khan. "A series of crackdowns began in January and at that time my father told me that even if he is arrested, we must stand with PTI chief Imran Khan," Moonis said in a tweet.

On May 26, a district court in Lahore issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Elahi.

"The pre-arrest bail of the accused was dismissed due to non-prosecution vide order dated May 25 and he is not appearing before the court and also not joining the investigation. In view of the request of the IO, let non-bailable arrest warrants of accused Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi be issued for June 2, 2023," the court order read.

Khan said that Pakistan was 129 out of 140 countries in the rule of law index before the crackdown on PTI. "Today we have fallen to the levels of Myanmar and Sudan where might is right is the law. Without rule of law, we will neither have democracy (freedom) or prosperity nor a future," he said in a tweet.

Elahi, who was a close aide to military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, was appointed as the president of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in March this year after quitting his former party - the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).

On May 9, violent protests erupted after the arrest of Khan, Chairman of PTI, by paramilitary Rangers in Islamabad. His party workers vandalised over 20 military installations and government buildings, including the Lahore Corps Commander House, Mianwali airbase and the ISI building in Faisalabad. The Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi was also attacked by the mob for the first time.

Khan was later released on bail.

The violence elicited a strong reaction from the government and military with vows of taking action against the culprits, leading to an ongoing crackdown against those involved.

Law enforcement agencies have arrested over 10,000 workers of Khan's Pakistan party across Pakistan, 4,000 of them from Punjab province.

Earlier this month, the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan's Parliament, passed a resolution vowing to try May 9 rioters under the existing laws including the stringent Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.

Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

The New Indian Express