Narcotics court dismisses Sanaullah's pleas requesting video footage, confiscated vehicle

Updated 08 Feb 2020

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In July 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, claiming to have seized 15kg heroin from his vehicle. — DawnNewsTv/File
In July 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, claiming to have seized 15kg heroin from his vehicle. — DawnNewsTv/File

A special court for Control of Narcotics Substance on Saturday dismissed two petitions filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and MNA Rana Sanaullah seeking video evidence against him as claimed by government ministers at the time of his arrest and the return of his confiscated vehicle in the drugs case against him.

During the hearing, presided over by Judge Shakir Hassan, the court also dismissed a third petition filed by the prosecution seeking daily hearings of the case.

The PML-N leader's counsel, Advocate Farhad Ali Shah, argued that a number of cases were underway in the courts but the prosecution only wished to speed up Sanaullah's case.

Responding to the comment, the prosecution said Sanaullah had accused them of using delaying tactics which was why they wished to speed up the trial.

In its short order, the court dismissed all three petitions and adjourned the hearing till March 7. The court also directed the PML-N leader to be present at the next hearing for indictment.

On January 18, Sanaullah had filed a petition in court praying to release his vehicle on supardari. At the time, the court had reserved its verdict.

However, during the proceedings, Sanaullah's counsel had argued that the PML-N leader acted against several outlawed groups as former Punjab law minister and faced a threat to his life. He had urged the court to return the bullet-proof vehicle that is currently in the custody of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).

In July 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. Officials had also 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.

Sanaullah's name was subsequently put on the Exit Control List (ECL) and he was released on bail on Dec 26.

'Complete footage with ANF'

In July 2019, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi had held a press conference and had said the ANF had "complete footage" of Sanaullah before it moved to arrest him.

"For approximately three weeks, Sanaullah's car and movements were monitored at every level," he had stated, adding: "Everything, A to Z, will be presented in court." He had reiterated that the authorities had all the evidence they needed against the PML-N leader and that everything would be presented in court.

In December, the PML-N leader had demanded that the government submit the video evidence concerning his involvement in the narcotics business to the court.

Sanaullah had 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," he had added.