DG NAB summoned by LHC
A single-judge bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC), headed by Justice Muhammad Amjad Rafiq, convened on Wednesday to address a petition submitted by Elahi. The petition aimed to contest his "unlawful" apprehension by the nation's primary anti-corruption agency. Filed on Tuesday, the petition referred to an LHC directive issued on July 13. This directive restrained various authorities, including the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and the Punjab Police, from arresting Elahi based on concealed First Information Reports (FIRs) or ongoing investigations.
Elahi's petition asserted that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had initiated a purported investigation into the irregular awarding of construction contracts in Gujarat during his second term as Punjab's chief minister on June 9, 2023. Despite the July 13 order, the petition claimed that NAB did not disclose this investigation and proceeded to arrest Elahi immediately after his release from Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail on August 14, marking the conclusion of his 30-day detainment.
Elahi's legal representative, Amir Saeed Rawn, informed the court on Wednesday that NAB had elevated the inquiry to the status of an investigation on July 18. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued on August 11 without any prior notification to the accused. Expressing dissatisfaction with the arrest despite the court's order, Justice Rafiq questioned the compliance of NAB's actions with the court's directive. Ghulam Sarwar Nihung, representing NAB, defended the arrest by asserting that the July 13 order lacked specific instructions directed towards NAB.
Disputing this, Elahi's counsel contended that the anti-corruption agency had assured the court that no inquiry was pending against the PTI president. Justice Rafiq pointed out that while NAB was not explicitly mentioned in the order, this omission may have occurred due to NAB's communication that no inquiry was in progress against Elahi. The abrupt commencement of an inquiry was questioned by Justice Rafiq, who labeled the successive arrests as a "drama."
The NAB prosecutor argued that their compliance was in accordance with the court order as NAB was not explicitly referenced. Justice Rafiq countered by asking why the court had not been informed about these cases when inquired about disclosed, undisclosed, and concealed inquiries and investigations. Consequently, the court summoned the Lahore director-general of NAB to appear in person for the next hearing scheduled for Thursday. Additionally, the court directed the NAB prosecutor to furnish a comprehensive report outlining the current status of ongoing inquiries and investigations involving Elahi.