PTI's Asad Qaiser arrested from residence in Islamabad: brother

By
Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
Former Speaker Asad Qaiser talking to media at outside Supreme Court in Islamabad on March 2, 2023. — Online/File
Former Speaker Asad Qaiser talking to media at outside Supreme Court in Islamabad on March 2, 2023. — Online/File

  • Qaiser's brother says men dressed in plain clothes arrested him. 
  • Ex-NA speaker shifted to unknown location after the arrest. 
  • PTI stalwart taken into custody for alleged corruption.


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Qaiser has been arrested from his residence in Islamabad's Bani Gala area, the former National Assembly speaker's brother said on Friday.

Sources said that Qaiser — who is a staunch supporter of PTI Chairman Imran Khan — was taken into custody by police and Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) personnel for alleged corrupt practices related to purchase of medical equipment for Gajju Khan Medical College in Swabi.

Sources said that Qaiser is being shifted to Bani Gala Police Station, where he will be handed over to the ACE Swabi officials.

According to a copy of the First Information Report (FIR) registered against the PTI leader available to Geo News, the PTI stalwart and four officials of the health department face allegations of misusing funds and medical equipment in the medical college.

The FIR registered on the complaint of former ACE investigation officer Hidayat Shah stated that the five suspects caused Rs16.456 million loss to the treasury by "stealing" the equipment and purchasing substandard furniture for the institution.

PTI condemned Qaiser's arrest, calling it a bid to "affect the transparency of elections", which are set to be staged on February 8, 2024, as ordered by the Supreme Court after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and President Arif Alvi agreed on the said date.

"Asad Qaiser's arrest is a question mark on the role of the election commission in staging fair polls. The series of leaders' arrests is a conspiracy to keep PTI out of the election race," the party spokesperson said.

The spox called on the ECP to ensure the provision of equal opportunities to all political parties to contest in elections. He also announced the decision to challenge Qaiser's arrest on a judicial forum.

After much delay and obstacles, a date for general elections — which have been long due since the dissolution of assemblies in August — was finally decided on Thursday after President Alvi and Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja unanimously agreed on the aforementioned date.

Today, the Supreme Court ordered the government to ensure the conduct of general elections on February 8, stating that no party has any objection to holding elections on this date.

Qaiser's arrest comes as another setback for the Khan-led party, which is already embroiled in legal battles as its top leadership remains behind bars in different cases.

It may be noted that Qaiser led a PTI delegation in a meeting with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl's (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence last month. 

"Today, we came to offer our condolences [over the demise of Fazl's mother-in-law], this is our culture. We did not discuss politics in the meeting," said Qaiser while speaking to the media after the meeting, which he said had taken place after approval from Khan.

Meanwhile, the PTI chief and vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi are also incarcerated at the Adiala jail and undergoing trial in the cipher case.

Imran was initially arrested in a graft case on May 9, triggering strong protests from the party across the country in which state installations were targetted.

During the riots important military installations, including the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and Lahore Corp Commander’s residence, were ransacked.

This led to a crackdown against those involved in the events and hundreds of party workers and leaders were arrested.