LAHORE: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan on Saturday gave a warning to his predecessor Sheikh Rashid Ahmad to withdraw his threat of ‘bloody march’ on Islamabad or he would not be allowed to leave his home in Rawalpindi.

“I will not let you come out of your home if you do not give an assurance to the government and the nation as well that the long march would be a peaceful political and democratic activity,” Mr Khan warned Mr Ahmad while talking to the media outside a special court (Control of Narcotics Substance).

The interior minister had come to the court to attend the hearing of a drug recovery case against him.

The minister said Mr Ahmad had been trying to incite the public in a bid to create chaos and anarchy in the country. He said every such attempt would be foiled.

He rather asked the former interior minister to set himself on fire instead of provoking innocent people to take this extreme step.

Khan also accused Farah Khan, a friend of former prime minister Imran Khan’s wife Bushra, of accumulating illegal assets and sending over a billion of rupees abroad. He said the sole purpose of the tax amnesty scheme introduced by the Imran Khan government was to benefit Ms Khan. He said Imran Khan was taking out the march to protect Farah Khan.

The minister also condemned the incident of hooliganism that occurred in Masjid-i-Nabwi during the official visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his delegation. He said the PTI had implicated its opponents in false cases wherein they had been granted bails by the courts due to lack of evidence.

Khan alleged that Imran Khan and his then advisor Shehbaz Akbar had a direct role in framing him in a bogus drug case against him through the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).

Earlier, judge Muhammad Naeem Sheikh adjourned the hearing of the drug case till May 21 with a direction to the defence counsel to come up with arguments on the acquittal applications of Khan and other suspects.

A prosecutor of the ANF opposed the acquittal pleas saying the prosecution had presented enough evidence to prove the charges against the suspects.

The defence counsel sought time to advance his arguments and also filed an application on behalf of Khan for permanent exemption from personal appearance.

The Anti Narcotics Force had arrested Khan on July 1, 2019 and claimed to have recovered 15kg heroin from his vehicle. The FIR was lodged under section 9 (C) of Control of Narcotic Substances Act 1997. He was twice denied bail by the trial court and the Lahore High Court released him on Dec 24, 2019. Other suspects include Sibtain Haider, Usman Ahmad and Muhammad Akram.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2022

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