Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party president Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, a close aide to former prime minister Imran Khan, was arrested outside his residence here on Thursday, the party said.
"Shameful how the regime doesn't stop their fascism. The inflation has skyrocketed to 38%, and their response is arresting former CM Punjab Parvez Elahi. Absolutely ridiculous!" the party tweeted along with a video in which the 77-year-old leader was seen being dragged by security personnel from his residence, Zahoor Elahi.
The former Punjab chief minister was arrested as he was leaving his house, the Dawn newspaper reported, quoting Elahi's spokesperson Iqbal Chaudhry.
The spokesperson alleged that authorities also "misbehaved” with women accompanying Elahi, who had been evading arrest since May 9.
On May 26, a district court in Lahore issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Elahi.
"The pre-arrest bail of the accused was dismissed due to non-prosecution vide order dated May 25 and he is not appearing before the court and also not joining the investigation. In view of the request of the IO, let non-bailable arrest warrants of accused Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi be issued for June 2, 2023,” the court order read.
Elahi, who was a close aide to military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, was appointed as the president of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in March this year after quitting his former party - the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
On May 9, violent protests erupted after the arrest of Khan, Chairman of PTI, by paramilitary Rangers in Islamabad. His party workers vandalised over 20 military installations and government buildings, including the Lahore Corps Commander House, Mianwali airbase and the ISI building in Faisalabad. The Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi was also attacked by the mob for the first time. Khan was later released on bail.
The violence elicited a strong reaction from the government and military with vows of taking action against the culprits, leading to an ongoing crackdown against those involved.
Law enforcement agencies have arrested over 10,000 workers of Khan's Pakistan party across Pakistan, 4,000 of them from Punjab province.
Following the May 9 incidents, several senior leaders of Khan's party were taken into custody. The leaders included Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Umar, Dr Yasmeen Rashid, Shireen Mazari, Maleeka Bukhari, and Fayyazul Hassan Chauhan.
A few days later, many prominent leaders including Fawad, Imran Ismail, Shireen Mazari, Fayyazul Hassan Chauhan, Firdaus Ashiq Awan and others quit Khan's party.
Khan, 70, who is facing more than 100 cases ranging from corruption to terrorism, said he sympathises with everyone who were forced to leave the party.
Earlier this month, the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan's Parliament, passed a resolution vowing to try May 9 rioters under the existing laws including the stringent Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.
Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
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