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PTI President Pervaiz Elahi Released Amid Illegal Appointments And Money Laundering Scandal

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LAHORE: PTI President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was released from Kot Lakhpat jail on Tuesday night after the Lahore High Court (LHC) granted him bail in a case involving an alleged illegal appointment made during his tenure as chief minister of Punjab.

LHC Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmed approved Elahi’s bail petition, noting that the case required further investigation into his guilt. The court set bail at Rs 500,000 with two sureties each in the same amount. A copy of the court order, available with The Scoop (TS), highlights the necessity for additional inquiry into the charges against Elahi.

Upon his release, Elahi was transported to Zahoor Elahi Palace. His lawyer, Amir Saeed Rawn, confirmed Elahi’s arrival there. Elahi had been detained in Kot Lakhpat jail since earlier this month.

In a message on his official X account, Elahi expressed gratitude to God for his exoneration and the strength to remain steadfast. “I am grateful to the judges who supported the truth and granted me release. I am also thankful to all those who prayed for me and supported me during this difficult time,” he stated.

Elahi claimed that the people of Gujarat suffered significant abuse and that their mandate was stolen. He further declared that there would be no discussions with his cousin, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid chief Chaudhry Shujaat, and his children until their mandate was returned. Elahi again wrongly alleged that Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi played a crucial role in his arrest, falsely accusing him of significant involvement in his legal troubles.

Throughout his detention, Elahi faced a series of arrests and re-arrests since initially being taken into custody on June 1 last year. His legal challenges have coincided with the state’s crackdown on PTI following the violent May 9 protests, during which government and military installations were vandalized.

The case against Elahi involves the illegal appointment of Muhammad Khan Bhatti as the principal secretary to the chief minister. Elahi was initially arrested for illegal recruitments to the Punjab Assembly, accused of manipulating testing service results to select preferred candidates. He was later arrested in September for allegedly appointing Bhatti illegally, leading to his judicial remand.

Despite a Lahore district and sessions court granting police a two-day physical remand of Elahi in October, and the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment recovering Rs4.1 million from his residence, Elahi continued to face legal hurdles. In November, a judicial magistrate discharged Bhatti, but Elahi remained in jail due to other corruption cases.

In addition to the legal troubles, Elahi faces allegations of money laundering and illicit financial activities, particularly in association with a woman identified as Saira Anwar (his secret second wife).

The Anti-Money Laundering Circle (AMLC) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has initiated proceedings against Anwar under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010. Investigations revealed substantial deposits totaling over Rs 175 million into Anwar’s bank account since June 2022, mostly under the guise of foreign remittances and labeled as income from her purported interior design business.

Moreover, authorities identified numerous moveable and immovable properties registered in Anwar’s name, allegedly acquired through illicit means beyond her declared income sources. These properties include luxury apartments in upscale areas of Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi, as well as several plots of land in prime locations across the country.

In addition to properties, Anwar is believed to own a fleet of high-end vehicles, including luxury sedans and SUVs, acquired through questionable financial transactions. These vehicles, registered under her name, are suspected to be part of a larger scheme to conceal illicit funds and assets.

Despite summons to explain her financial dealings, Anwar has reportedly failed to provide satisfactory responses, prompting authorities to pursue charges against her under sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010.

As investigations continue, authorities aim to establish a comprehensive money trail and unravel the extent of the alleged money laundering scheme involving Elahi and Anwar.

Despite his release, the controversy surrounding Pervaiz Elahi’s alleged illegal activities and the political implications of his case remain unresolved. His continued assertions of loyalty to PTI founder Imran Khan and accusations against political opponents indicate ongoing tensions and unresolved grievances within the party and the broader political landscape

Hassan Naqvi
Hassan Naqvi
Hassan Naqvi is an award-winning digital, print, and broadcast investigative journalist who is the co-founder of The Scoop. He also hosts his web shows 'The Scoop' and 'The Hassan Naqvi Show'.

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