ISLAMABAD: Accusing Rana Sanaullah of being the ‘El Chapo’ of Pakistan, Minister for Safron and Narcotics Control Shehryar Khan Afridi on Saturday requested the court to hold day-to-day hearing in the drug case against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader.
El Chapo is a Mexican drug lord who is considered to have been the most powerful drug trafficker in the world. He is at present serving a life term in a United States prison.
But in his live press conference, the minister called Rana Sanaullah ‘Pakistani Al Pacino’ — the Oscar-winning American actor — and not the drug lord ‘El Chapo’.
Addressing the press conference, the minister claimed that witnesses in the case were under threat. He demanded that the Lahore High Court’s chief justice either shift the case to Rawalpindi or allow trial in jail.
The minister said that the allegation against Mr Sanaullah was beyond any doubt as the country’s most credible drug control agency (Anti Narcotics Force) had seized drugs from his possession when he was travelling on a road.
“ANF officials put their lives at risk just to free the country from the menace of drugs. It is the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan that the big fish, in drug business, should be arrested. The ANF has recovered 15 kilograms of heroin from Pakistani Al Pacino,” he said.
However, a statement issued after the press conference used ‘El Chapo’ in place of Al Pacino.
“It was the requirement of criminal procedure code that, under Section 173 [power to summon person], the prosecution agency should file the proof against the suspect within 17 days. The ANF has submitted proof against the accused. The proof include drug, time of arrest, recovered weapon, gang members, chemical examination report of drug and around a dozen witnesses who provided evidence against Rana Sanaullah,” he said.
Mr Afridi said that it was unfortunate that not a single witness of the prosecution was called, but evidence in favour of the suspect was being given through media trial.
He said video and audio statements of Mr Sanaullah were being telecast by the media. He said if Altaf Hussain’s statements were banned, why Mr Sanaullah’s statements were being telecast. “We have also traced assets, which include plazas, real estate and cash amount, of the suspect, but he is claiming that he has earned the money through legal practice.”
Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2019