Pervez Elahi pakistan
President of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Pervez Elahi. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: An Anti-Corruption Court on Sunday turned down the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment’s (ACE) plea for physical remand of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, President of ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and sent him to 14-day judicial remand on Sunday.

The ACE had sought physical remand of Pervaiz Elahi who had served in Imran Khan’s tenure as Speaker of the Punjab Assembly and later as Chief Minister of Punjab.

The ACE had arrested the former chief minister on Saturday for the third time after two consecutive orders for his release were issued by local courts of Lahore and Gujranwala. This time he is arrested in the “illegal” recruitment in Punjab Assembly.

Judicial Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza Virk after hearing the two sides, reserved the order. However, later he announced the verdict and sent Pervaiz Elahi on judicial remand.

Standing by Imran Khan like a rock

While talking to media outside the court, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi dismissed the reports of any differences with the PTI chairman Imran Khan. “I am standing with PTI and its leadership like a rock and I assure the party workers that the current government will fail to dent our resolve.”

Pervaiz Elahi said it didn’t matter how many cases were booked against him. “Even if there are 800 or 1,000 cases, it makes no difference as my hands are clean,” he said.

Of 26 female prisoners, 25 released from Adiala Jail

Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has found no evidence of inhuman treatment or humiliation allegedly meted out to the workers of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). They were arrested by the Punjab police after May 9 attacks on military installations and the army headquarters, GHQ, in Rawalpindi.

According to the statement there are currently 300 protesters incarcerated in the jail while of the 26 female detainees, 25 have been released.

The angry workers while protesting the arrest of Imran Khan had set afire a number of historical buildings and monuments.

The NCHR after a recent visit to the Central (Adiala) Jail Rawalpindi in response to reports of alleged torture and inhumane treatment issued a statement saying the visit aimed to investigate the veracity of such allegations and to gauge the conditions of confinement whether such prisoners had been tortured or not.

The NCHR team also examined the medical records of the prisoners – whether they were screened for any ailment or denied their rights and privileges as per law.

The NCHR oversight team to the jail consisted of Rana Ghulam Murtaza, Secretary NCHR, Mian Waqar Ahmed, Law Officer, NCHR and members of civil society namely Barrister Sarah Belal, Barrister Maneha of Justice Project Pakistan and Safdar Chaudhary of HRCP.

Prisoners unable to afford legal aid

The protesters who have been arrested are being kept in barracks along with other prisoners. Most of these prisoners were unable to afford legal representation and were facing difficulty in this regard. One major concern raised by the prisoners was regarding cancellations of court hearings.

Two senior PTI leaders, who are detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO), have been held in separate cells.

When interviewed, they expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the jail staff. However, they raised concerns about the non-provision of facilities such as a mattress, TV, and newspaper.

Women prisoners’ barracks are clean and spacious

The female barracks were found to be clean and spacious. Moreover, perusal of the medical reports of women who had been arrested and were no longer in jail revealed that during screening (prior to incarceration) some bruises, few abrasions and in one case a fractured finger was recorded in the jail register.

NCHR will continue to monitor the situation and work towards safeguarding the rights and welfare of detainees in jail and will be sharing other jail reports as well.