Muhammad Khan Bhatti, a senior Punjab bureaucrat serving as the secretary of the provincial assembly, has reportedly been arrested by law enforcement agencies from Matiari in Sindh.
Sources familiar with the incident said Bhatti was taken into custody while he was on his way to the Sindh High Court to apply for bail. He was accompanied by his legal advisor Amir Saeed Rawn at the time.
Muhammad Khan Bhatti has been frequently seen in media reports alongside former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. Elahi has claimed the arrest as “illegal”, and alleged that Bhatti is an “upright officer” who is being “victimised by the Sharif’s” because Bhatti did a good job when Elahi was assembly speaker from 2018 to 2022.
Speaking to a private news channel yesterday evening, Nasir Hussain Shah, Sindh’s information minister, said he had not seen any “credible reports” on the issue of the Punjab assembly secretary being arrested from Matiari.
The federal investigation agency’s (FIA) anti money-laundering circle has lodged cases against Bhatti and eight others for allegedly taking bribes in return for awarding high-ranking posts in the Punjab province.
The case, which nominates sub-divisional officer (SDO) Rana Muhammad Iqbal and others as co-accused, states that the SDO had been bribing Mr Bhatti for several years to retain his position. “Several other officers work for Mr Bhatti and dupe the national exchequer to bribe him”, the case report states.
PTI leader Moonis Elahi and former Punjab Chief Minister Afzal Sahi also allegedly “accompanied” Mr Bhatti while receiving money, as per the report.