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Pakistan Police Conduct Raids at Homes of PTI President Parvez Elahi

© AP Photo / K.M. ChaudaryA riot police officer looks on after firing tear gas to disperse supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan during clashes, in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
A riot police officer looks on after firing  tear gas to disperse supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan during clashes, in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 02.05.2023
The PTI president is wanted on both corruption and terror charges by Pakistan authorities.
The Anti-Corruption Division and Punjab Police stormed the Gujrat residence of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi on Monday night.
The raid comes two days after officials raided the former Punjab chief minister's Lahore home late on Friday night, arresting dozens of staff members while attempting to arrest the former Punjab chief minister, who was not at the residence at the time.
It was reported that some 30 people, mostly Elahi's employees and some PTI members, were taken from the house. The raid went on for almost eight hours, after police used an armored vehicle to break open the main gate of his Lahore residence located in the prestigious area of Gulberg.
They also tried to force their entry into the adjoining residence of Elahi's cousin, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, but were resisted by Shujaat’s sons.
Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's party, 'Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf' chant slogans during a protest  - Sputnik India, 1920, 27.04.2023
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Shujaat condemned the police raid on Elahi’s home.
Just two days after the Lahore incident, the same kind of action took place at Elahi's second residence in the city of Gujrat. In a late-night raid on Monday, a heavy contingent of police cordoned off Elahi's home called Kunjah House, and tried to enter it.

Cases Against Elahi

Parvez Elahi was booked by the Punjab police on corruption charges but his lawyers managed to get him bail until May 6. The former Punjab CM is charged with taking a bribe worth Rs 2 billion for the contract of a development scheme.
Muhammad Basharat, the head constable at Gujranwala ACE (Anti-Corruption Establishment) police station, accuses him of misusing his position and authority during his tenure to build a nine-kilometer-long bridge and taking bribes in various schemes and projects.
The PTI president is also wanted on terror charges, which were brought forward against him after a police complaint following the Lahore raid. The case registered in Lahore suggests that the raiding police team was attacked with petrol bombs, stones, and batons by Elahi's staff. The complaint further added that Elahi was assisted in evading arrest during the raid.

Lahore High Court Seeks Detailed Report

On Tuesday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed the Punjab police chief and the director general of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) to submit a detailed report regarding the late-night raids.
Elahi’s son, Rasikh Elahi, has claimed that the raid against his father's homes is illegal.
Rasikh’s lawyer said that Elahi had been granted protective bail in a case registered against him, but despite the clear orders of the court, police raided the house "with 300 to 400 policemen armed with sticks" and broke down the main gate with an armored vehicle.
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The petition presented by Rasikh's lawyer also specified that officials entered without any search warrants and "in such a violent manner as if an operation was being conducted in the area of Waziristan or tribal areas of Punjab."
Furthermore, the entire operation was broadcasted by the media, creating a "sense of fear" among the public, as at least 30 workers were arrested.

Timings of the Raids

These police operations come at a time when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) are holding important talks on the date of the election. After months of court cases, delays, protests and sit-ins, the two opposing parties have managed to hold talks after the Supreme Court’s orders. However, these recent raids on Elahi’s residences reportedly put a damper on the negotiations.
A supporter of former Prime Minister Imran Khan takes photos with mobile phone to his colleagues with huge Khan's poster painted on a truck neat the Khan's residence, in Lahore, Pakistan, Thursday, March 16, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 27.04.2023
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The PTI has strongly condemned the raids, describing them as an effort to sabotage the ongoing talks with the government over elections.
"Strongly condemn the illegal raid on Pervez Elahi’s home with no respect to the women and family members present," PTI chief Imran Khan tweeted.
"We are seeing the dismantling of democracy in Pak before our eyes. There is no respect for the Constitution, SC verdicts, or fundamental rights of the [people] — only law of the jungle," the former premier said.

PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry likewise wondered how talks with the government and such arrests could go hand in hand. "Raids at Chaudhry Parvez Elahi’s house show that Ishaq Dar, Saad Rafique and Azam Tarar have no value in their party. We strongly condemn the raid," he said in a tweet.

PTI has called for workers' arrests to be halted, warning that the talks might derail. Some analysts said that such pressure tactics of the authorities are giving a boost to Khan's popularity.
In March, Punjab Police also raided Khan's Lahore's Zaman Park home, which was called off after court orders. Khan was traveling to Islamabad at that time and was not arrested.
At this time of writing, it remains unclear who ordered the latest raids on the PTI president's houses.