ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Friday witnessed a rare show of solidarity when opposition leader Rana Sanaullah rejected drug smuggling charges levelled against him and he was backed by some members from treasury benches.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah, who has been facing a case of drug smuggling for the last six months and was recently released on bail, demanded the house form a fact-finding judicial commission to probe into his case or his case should be referred to the relevant standing committee of the lower house so that he could plead his innocence.
The house was echoed with the sound of desk thumping, when during Mr Sanaullah’s speech, some MNAs from government allies backed his point of view and in return members on the opposition benches hailed this gesture of the treasury benchers.
Two MNAs of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Mir Khalid Magsi and Aslam Bhootani, Saira Bano of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and Iqbal Mohammed Ali of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) supported the PML-N leader’s plea.
Some MNAs from government allies back Sana’s point of view
Seeing this gesture from members of treasury benches, the PML-N leader expressed his gratitude by waving his hand.
He narrated the complete episode from his arrest by officials of Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) on July 1 last year on charges of carrying 15 kg of heroin when he was leaving Lahore for Islamabad six months ago, to his release by an order of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Dec 26.
Mr Sanaullah took a copy of the holy Quran in his hand and swore on it that he was innocent and a fake case of drug smuggling had been made against him.
“Some officials of ANF intercepted my vehicle at Thokar Niaz Baig, pulled out my driver, sat in the vehicle and took me to the ANF prison. This is all untrue that they conducted search of my vehicle and found a bag full of heroin it,” he said, adding that next day he was produced before the court and no ANF official even talked to him for interrogation till his appearance before the judge.
He rejected the ANF claim that it had video footage of recovering drug from his car and asked why such evidence had not been presented before the court.
Mr Sanaullah said he had been accused of being a member of a network of international drug smugglers which smuggled drugs from Afghanistan and then sent to different countries via Faisalabad and Lahore through him.
“I have been in politics for the last 25 years and served as the law minister of Punjab for 10 years and during my entire political career I have had neither association with any drug dealer nor have I been asked for any favour by such people,” he added.
Later, Minister for Communication Murad Saeed said that Mr Sanaullah had been accused of murder charges by his own party members and that the PML-N leader was responsible for the killing of over a dozen Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers in Model Town, Lahore, in July 2014.
He said that today the house had heard the one-sided version of Mr Sanaullah while the government version would be given on Monday by Minister of State for Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi.
“PML-N leader Abid Sher Ali and his father levelled allegations of murder against Mr Sanaullah and allegations of he having links with banned organisations were not levelled by the PTI,” he said.
Mr Saeed said the opposition leader could present his point of view in the house but state institutions could not do so. “Instead of raising his personal matters, Mr Sanaullah should talk about issues of the people,” he added.
Passage of bills: Later, the house passed five different bills and bills about proposed amendments to National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 was not tabled in the house.
Earlier, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan withdrew six bills that were among 11 bills [ordinance converted into bills] passed by the NA on Nov 8 in a “haste” and on this opposition had moved a motion for removal of Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri for getting 11 bills passed in a manner that no time was given to lawmakers to hold a proper debate on them.
Later, the opposition withdrew the motion on the assurance of the government that all 11 bills would be withdrawn and re-presented in the house for a proper debate.
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2020