PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah on Saturday demanded that the government submit to the court "video evidence" concerning his involvement in the narcotics business.
Talking to reporters outside an anti-narcotics court in Lahore after a hearing of the case, the former Punjab minister said, "Today, my lawyers adopted the viewpoint that they will not accept the indictment until [the government] presents the video on the basis of which Shehryar Afridi and the ANF [Anti-Narcotics Force] director general had claimed that Rana Sanaullah himself was handing over the stash of heroin."
Sanaullah said the government was bound to present the video before the court "if any such footage exists".
"They [prosecution] adopted the viewpoint in court that they have no video. But to confuse and mislead the masses, they claimed they have the video or footage."
"So we have asked the court to provide a copy of the said video to us. The video [of arrest] is not the one they are talking about. The [real] video [of arrest] will unveil their designs," he said, adding that now the government was concealing the video but his counsel will force the prosecution to submit it in court.
Sanaullah insisted that the case could not proceed without submission of the video in court.
The PML-N leader said PTI leaders were claiming that the video had been discussed in a cabinet meeting and was even shown to Prime Minister Imran Khan. "Now they will have to show the video," he said.
"I along with my friends and lawyers came here to appear before the court but I am unable to understand why the government needs to harass us like this. Roads had been blocked since 8 in the morning and at least 500 policemen in plain clothes had been deployed around the court."
Earlier, authorities had denied media personnel entry into the courtroom.
The court, on Sanaullah's plea, issued notices to the prosecution and adjourned the hearing till January 18.
Rana Sanaullah's arrest
On July 1, 2019, the former Punjab law minister was arrested by the ANF Lahore team while he was travelling from Faisalabad to Lahore near the Ravi Toll Plaza on motorway. ANF claimed to have seized 15kg heroin from his vehicle. A special team of the force had also arrested five others, including the driver and security guards of the PML-N leader.
The first information report (FIR) was lodged under Section 9(C) of the 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. According to the content of the FIR, when asked about the narcotics, Rana admitted the possession of heroin, pointed toward a blue-coloured suitcase concealed behind his seat.
It said Rana himself unzipped the suitcase, removed a plastic cover in it and pointed towards a bag filled with heroin.
Next day, a judicial magistrate sent Rana and other suspects to jail on judicial remand as the prosecution chose not to seek their physical remand.
On Dec 24, 2019, almost six months after his arrest, the Lahore High Court granted post-arrest bail to Rana Sanaullah Khan in the drug case.
'Complete footage with ANF'
On July 3, 2019, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi held a press conference and said the ANF had "complete footage" of Sanaullah Khan before it moved to arrest him.
"For approximately three weeks, Rana Sanaullah's car and movements were monitored at every level," he stated, adding: "Everything, A to Z, will be presented in court." He reiterated that the authorities had all the evidence they needed against the PML-N leader and that everything would be presented in court.
Addressing the same press conference, ANF Director General Maj Gen Mohammad Arif Malik had said that they had not sought physical remand of the PML-N leader because they did not need to force him or physically torture him to strengthen their case.
"We took judicial remand because we had sufficient evidence in the matter and thus there was no need for a physical remand," he added.