Govt orders FIA to proceed against Elahi

Pervaiz Elahi says there is nothing wrong in the audio conversation

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said that he has directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to proceed against former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi over the latest audio leaks purportedly involving an apex court judge.

“This audio leak is very embarrassing in which a new ‘minion’ of Imran Khan is involved,” he said at a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday while referring to latest audio leaks purportedly featuring conversation between Elahi and an unidentified person. During the presser, the interior minister played the censored leaked audio clip in which the PML-Q leader can be purportedly heard discussing the cases being heard in the Supreme Court which also included the one involving former CCPO Lahore Ghulam Mehmood Dogar.

Referring to the audio leaks, Sanaullah said he censored the leaked audio clips as he did not want to reveal the identity of the superior court judge before forensic analysis. “How courageously he [Pervaiz Elahi] was managing the country’s top court… I will request the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of this,” he remarked. Sanaullah said he has directed the FIA to conduct forensic analysis of the audio clips and then arrest Elahi for interrogation after registering a case against him. “I have directed the FIA to examine this and take legal opinion on this matter.”

Speaking about LHC’s verdict to reject PTI chief Imran Khan’s bail plea, Sanaullah said in his view the former premier should be arrested after he failed to appear before the court. The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday dismissed a bail plea filed by former prime minister and PTI chief Imran Khan in a case pertaining to protests outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The court had earlier adjourned the hearing multiple times as Imran’s legal team sought more time for consultations.

As the court resumed proceedings for the third time, counsel Azhar Siddique requested the court to withdraw the protective bail arguing that the Islamabad High Court had awarded relief to the PTI chairman in the case. He also contended that another protective bail plea has been filed in the high court in a separate case and “we are waiting for it to be fixed before a judge”. Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh then questioned why a contempt notice should not be issued to the counsel and the petitioner as the signatures differ on the petition, affidavit and paper of attorney.

Advocate Azhar replied he will “look into it”. “It is tantamount to committing fraud with the court which cannot be tolerated,” replied the judge. The counsel further argued that Imran’s doctor, Faisal Sultan, is in the courtroom to assist the court, to which Justice Tariq said the doctor is not a party to the case. “Seems like they [PTI] are trying to influence the courts… his refusal to appear before the court despite several summons is tantamount to making mockery of superior court,” Sanaullah said while referring to the LHC proceedings. The interior minister said investigation team probing a case against Imran should proceed as per the law.

Meanwhile, reacting to the interior minister’s statement on the alleged audio leak, Pervaiz Elahi said that the government wanted to jail its opponents in fake cases. Regarding the audio leak, he said that there is nothing wrong in the audio conversation. He said that his conversation with the lawyer about Muhammad Khan Bhatti’s case was given wrong angle. He said that Bhatti has been missing for 10 days, and his wife appealed to the Supreme Court (SC) for his recovery. He slammed Rana Sanaullah saying that the government is trying to declare people guilty for approaching the court via lawyers.

The former CM alleged that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) is running an organised campaign to malign the judiciary. “We have always respected the judiciary and the courts are currently the centre of hope for the nation.” The Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) leader said that the government is using all tactics of political vengeance and it is trying to jail its opponents in fake cases.