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LHC Warns ACE Official of Contempt in Elahi Case

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The Lahore High Court (LHC) has warned the Additional Director General of Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Waqas Hassan that he may face contempt charges if he fails to produce an arrest warrant for former Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi. The warning came during a hearing of a plea filed by Elahi seeking contempt proceedings against ACE officials and police high-ups for raiding his Lahore residence despite being granted protective bail in the case. The law officer told the court that the ACE team had mistakenly conducted the raid in connection with FIR 7/2023 instead of FIR 6/2023 in which Elahi had been granted bail. Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh observed that the court had summoned Hassan in connection with his remarks during the raid, and sought to see the arrest warrant. However, the law office was unable to produce the warrant.

Elahi’s counsel, Advocate Amir Saeed Rawn, showed a video clip on his mobile phone in which Hassan could be heard saying that he did not care if he faced contempt charges. The law officer responded by saying that the clip was insufficient to establish contempt of court and that the official was willing to apologize unconditionally if the court deemed it necessary. The judge noted that the replies submitted to the court had mistakes, and directed the law officer to submit them again after vetting them thoroughly. The judge had issued a show-cause notice to Hassan, which he had failed to reply to, but Hassan later withdrew his reply and committed to submitting it in response to the notice.

The case revolves around the ACE’s attempts to arrest Elahi in a graft and terrorism case. Elahi had been granted protective bail by the court, but the ACE team conducted a raid at his residence. The raid was conducted in connection with the wrong FIR, according to the law officer. Hassan’s alleged remarks during the raid have raised the possibility of contempt proceedings.

The incident highlights the importance of maintaining the integrity of the justice system and of officials respecting the court’s orders. The court has the power to initiate contempt proceedings against anyone who undermines its authority or disobeys its orders. It is essential that officials and law enforcement agencies follow the correct procedures and respect the rule of law.

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