Court reserves verdict on Rana Sanaullah’s plea in drugs case

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An anti-narcotics court on Saturday reserved its decision over a petition of former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah seeking return of his vehicle.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah had approached the court for release of his vehicle and provision of footages allegedly possessed by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) as evidence.

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The court adjourned the hearing till February 8 in the narcotics case. His counsel argued in the court that Rana Sanaullah has acted against several outlawed groups as law minister and having threat to his life. He pleaded for return of the bullet-proof vehicle, which was presently in the custody of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).

ANF counsel while opposing the plea argued that Rana Sanaullah didn’t express any apprehension about threat to his life earlier. A vehicle taken in custody in a drugs case could not be handed over on supardari, the ANF counsel argued.

The ANF’s prosecutor argued that Sanaullah’s lawyers have been using delaying tactics, and pleaded with the court to conduct proceedings of the case on a daily basis.

To this, judge Shakir Hassan asked the prosecutor, “How can I hear the case on a daily basis? I postpone the cases daily, I don’t have a stenographer and the car in which I travel is a ‘third-class’ car […] all these works are to be done by the ministry of law and justice and you are saying to hold hearings daily.”

“Both sides have completed their arguments […] I am reserving my judgment in the application, the decision will be written when my stenographer arrives,” the judge added.

After appearing in the courtroom, the PML-N leader spoke to the media and claimed that false and baseless case was lodged against him, and urged Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) and Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi to justify his stance in the court.

“The government has no future [we will] get rid of this government in the year 2020,” Sanaullah stated, adding the opposition was being kept busy in order to divert attention from the public issues.

The PML-N leader further pointed out that the rising inflation in the country has made it harder for the public to buy food for even two times a day.

“An action plan will be made in the opposition’s joint meeting […] a strong protest will be held for public issues,” he mentioned.

The PML-N leader claimed that baseless cases were being lodged against the opposition to “keep it busy” while this was now clear that he was being subject to political victimisation.

“The person arrested from Faisalabad should be brought forth […] Shehryar Afridi stated in the parliament that he and the prime minister had made no conspiracy, [and so] present the arrested persons before the court,” he went on to say, adding that he would seek the court to summon Afridi and the ANF’s DG in the same case.

Sanaullah, who is also a member of the National Assembly (MNA) and president of the PML-N’s Punjab wing, was arrested while travelling with his guards to a meeting from Faisalabad to Lahore.

The FIR was lodged under section 9 (C) of Control of Narcotic Substances Act 1997, which carries death penalty or life imprisonment or a jail-term that may extend to 14 years along with a fine up to Rs1 million.

Importantly, the NAB Lahore has issued notice to Sanaullah to appear before its investigation team on February 3 in an assets beyond income case.