Asad Qaiser sent to Adiala jail in graft case, to be kept in judicial lockup

Former National Assembly speaker was arrested from his Islamabad residence on Friday

By
Arfa Feroz Zake
Former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser talking to the media in this undated photo. — APP/File
Former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser talking to the media in this undated photo. — APP/File 

  • Qasier accused of corrupt practices causing Rs16 mln to treasury.
  • Ex-speaker was taken into custody by ICT police, ACE on Friday.
  • FIR cites corruption related to Swabi's Gajju Khan Medical College.


ISLAMABAD: Former National Assembly speaker and senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Qaiser has been sent to Adiala jail by a judicial magistrate on Saturday.

On Friday, the veteran politician was taken into custody from his Islamabad residence by police and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) over alleged corruption in procurement relating to Swabi's Gajju Khan Medical College.

The first information report (FIR) registered on the complaint of former ACE investigation officer Hidayat Shah, accuses Qasier and four health department officials of causing Rs16.456 million worth of loss to the treasury by "stealing" the equipment and purchasing substandard furniture.

The Islamabad police today presented Qasier before a judicial magistrate in Islamabad seeking PTI stalwart's remand in the graft case.

Meanwhile, PTI's legal team comprising Shoaib Shaheen Barrister Gohar Ali Khan urged the court to "discharge" the PTI leader.

"[We] are filing an application for Asad Qaiser's protective bail," Shaheen told the judicial magistrate.

The lawyer also questioned why the KP police didn't apprehend Qaiser from the KP as he frequently visits the province.

"Who gave Islamabad police the authority to arrest Qasier?"

"The KP police wrote to the Islamabad police to arrest Qasier," Shaheen said, adding: "If KP anti-corruption police had sought federal capital police's assistance [then] it would've been a different [matter]."

Furthermore, Barrister Khan reprimanded the manner in which Qaiser was taken into custody.

"There's a way [and procedure] to make an arrest," Khan said.

He also questioned whether the KP police have a warrant to arrest the PTI leader.

Meanwhile, the judge — commenting on the prospects of Qasier's bail — said that a judicial magistrate court could not approve the PTI leader's bail.

The court then directed the authorities to shift the PTI bigwig to Adiala jail where he is to be kept in judicial lockup — till ACE transfers him to KP.

It is pertinent to mention that top PTI leadership, including its chairman and vice-chairman Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, respectively are also behind bars in the same facility for their jail trial in the cipher case.

Qasier's arrest comes as a major setback for the party as the veteran politician could've played a key role in "reconciliation" efforts in light of his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman last month.

The party, in a statement, condemned his arrest and expressed concerns about the transparency of the elections which are to be held on February 8, 2024.

"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.