A statement by incarcerated PTI leader and former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi with regard to former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday sparked speculations and prompted the Punjab jail authorities to issue a rare rebuttal. Elahi was brought to Lahore from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on Thursday to be presented in two different courts in Punjab’s provincial capital in connection with separate corruption cases.
During an informal interaction with reporters in the court premises, the PTI central president revealed that representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) have been meeting with Imran, who is also detained at the Adiala Jail.
“Imran Khan is in a cell adjacent to my own. Representatives from the IMF and the EU come to meet Imran Khan,” he said. Elahi also reiterated that he stood with Imran Khan, whose party, he claimed, was going to get unprecedented votes in upcoming general elections.
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Responding to the claim, Punjab Prisons issued a statement that said that Parvez Elahi’s statement regarding meetings between Imran and representatives from the IMF and the EU at Adiala Jail was baseless, contrary to the facts, and untrue. “No such meeting has taken place as such meetings are out of the question.”
It said that the PTI chairman and Elahi are housed in separate locations within Adiala Jail, with a distance of more than 500 meters between them. The PTI chairman and Chaudhry Parvez Elahi have never met inside Adiala Jail, nor have any contact.
“Besides his family members and lawyers, no one else is allowed to meet the PTI chairman. Regular records are maintained with regard [to Imran Khan’s] meetings with family and lawyers. “Furthermore, the security of Adiala Jail is ensured round the clock through control rooms of more than three hundred CCTV cameras by the IG Prisons Punjab office,” it said.
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During the interaction with the media, Elahi also claimed that “we are on excellent terms with the establishment” and that “the upcoming general elections will be free and fair.” In response to a query, the PTI president emphasized that no one had ever forced him to call a press conference to announce leaving the PTI party.
In the wake of a heavy-handed crackdown that authorities initiated after May 9 incidents of vandalism, a number of PTI leaders announced leaving the party and sometimes politics in hurriedly called press conferences. Parvez Elahi also criticized the PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, stating that the former prime minister had failed to garner support of the political leaders from Balochistan, who, according to Elahi, did not even think it necessary offer Nawaz their traditional turban as a gesture of goodwill.
A special court judge fixed November 30 for further proceedings in a case registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against Elahi, his son, Moonis, and others for their alleged money laundering through illegal transactions. A judicial magistrate who was hearing a case with regard to allegedly illegal hiring at the Punjab Assembly during Elahi’s term as the legislature’s speaker remanded him in judicial custody for 14 more days.
[WITH INPUT FROM NEWS DESK]