LAHORE: A duty judge presiding over a special court for Control of Narcotics Substance (CNS) on Saturday extended judicial remand of former law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan in a drug case without proceedings on his bail petition.
“Being a duty judge, I can only proceed with matter of urgent nature,” presiding judge Khalid Bashir said when Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar, the defence counsel, urged him to ask the prosecution for its arguments on the bail.
District and Sessions Judge Bashir has been posted in an FIA offence court as special judge central-II.
PML-N urges CJP to take notice of case
“What else can be an urgent matter than bail,” Mr Tarar said in response to the judge’s remarks. He pointed out that the defence had already completed its arguments before former presiding judge Masood Arshad was stopped from working in the middle of Aug 28th hearing through a WhatsApp message.
Anti-Narcotics Force prosecutor Rana Kashif told the judge that his senior colleague Dr Salahuddin Mengal had been asked to lead the prosecution in the case. However, he said, Mr Mengal was in Quetta on medical leave following a minor surgery.
When asked to present a notification of their appointment, Mr Kashif told the judge that they had been entrusted with the case on oral directions by the ANF.
“Allocation of cases among prosecutors does not require any direction in writing,” he added.
Seeking a short adjournment, Mr Kashif said Mr Mengal already had his arguments prepared and he would soon return from the medical leave.
Advocate Tarar pointed out that the ANF had not provided them the footage of the arrest scene as the state minister for interior had claimed that there was a video.
Rana Sanaullah told the judge that the government had no such video as the whole case against him was fabricated. He said the ANF was now giving another twist to the case by claiming that he acquired all his assets by selling heroin. He alleged that the prosecution had been misleading the nation.
The duty judge, however, adjourned hearing till Sept 28 and also extended judicial remand of Sanaullah.
Responding to media queries outside the court, Sanaullah rejected the rumours about a ‘deal’ being struck between former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the government.
“There is no question of any deal after enduring hardships and cruelty in jail,” he said and added, “Now we have started to love living in jail.” “The peaceful sleep I have been enjoying on the floor of jail, Imran Khan cannot even imagine even in Prime Minister House,” the former law minister said.
“I am standing with my party thousand times more than earlier,” he said. He urged the party workers and the general public to get ready to march on Islamabad on the call of the leadership. Meanwhile, the PML-N requested the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of Rana Sanaullah’s case.
“By arresting and locking up Rana Sanaullah in the most clumsy and illegal way over false allegation, Imran Khan has set the worst example of political victimisation. This arrest is a slap on the face of justice, judicial system and the rule of law,” PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a statement here.
She said Sanaullah was arrested over fictitious charges related to narcotics and he was being investigated over his assets in jail. “He is being investigated regarding assets that he acquired as his ancestral property passed on by his father,” she added.
“After changing the prosecutor four times just to buy time, the shameless PTI regime has stooped too low for its delaying tactics that it has now appointed a prosecutor who is suffering from heart issues in Quetta. The government member and DG ANF both lied about video evidence against Sanaullah in parliament and in the press conference. The government prosecutor admitted in court that no such video exists,” she said.
Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2019