A special court in Lahore acquitted on Saturday Interior Minister Rana Sanullah in a narcotics case filed against him during the PTI government’s tenure.
The minister was arrested in July 2019 under the previous government by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF). It had claimed to have recovered 15kg of heroin from his vehicle.
During the hearing today, ANF Assistant Director Imtiaz Ahmed and Inspector Ehsaan Azam dismissed the charges against Sanaullah, declaring them “wrong”.
In their affidavits submitted in court, copies of which are available with Dawn.com, the officials that they were present at the Ravi Toll Plaza on July 1, 2019, when Sanaullah was arrested.
“We never saw any sort of drugs being recovered from the scene,” they stated.
Subsequently, the court acquitted the interior minister and all the other people named in the case.
Sanaullah rejoiced at the verdict of the “bogus” case. “I’m grateful to everyone who raised their voices during that dark time and stood by me,” he said.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that of “all PML-N leaders targeted by Niazi regime”, Sanaullah’s case was the “worst example of political persecution with the most dangerous repercussions”.
“He braved these heinous charges and repression with patience and remained steadfast. He is an inspiration for all political workers,” he tweeted.
The interior minister thanked the prime minister for his “kind words”.
Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal also congratulated the interior minister for being “vindicated”. “We are proud of you the way you faced Imran Khan’s bogus case and persecution with great dignity,” he tweeted.
Earlier today, Sanaullah approached the court with a plea. It stated that the case against the minister was “concocted, devised and fabricated”.
“The prosecution remained unable to bring an iota of evidence against the petitioners/accused and the entire judicial file is also silent about any incriminating piece of evidence against the petitioner,” reads the petition, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.
He further contended in his petition that the case was the consequence of “political victimisation,” as he also referred to a statement of PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, saying “the ex-minister had categorically stated that this case was not lodged on the asking of lmran Khan’s government and it was lodged by some influential personalities of the country”.
The minister urged the court to acquit him of the charge “in the interest of justice, equity and fair play”.
Speaking to media outside the court, Sanaullah asserted that it was the right of his party to get all false cases quashed. “Even the cases against our leadership lodged abroad are being dismissed,” he said.
The minister called out PTI chief Imran Khan, claiming he wanted political instability in the country for his own mileage.
Charges against Sanaullah
Sanaullah was arrested in July 2019 by the ANF Lahore team while he was travelling from Faisalabad to Lahore near the Ravi Toll Plaza on the motorway.
A first information report was lodged under Section 9(C) of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act 1997, which carries the death penalty or life imprisonment or a jail term that may extend to 14 years, along with a fine up to Rs1 million.
It stated that the force had received information that Sanaullah was allegedly involved in drug trafficking and was taking heroin to Lahore.
He was twice denied bail by the trial court but the Lahore High Court released him on Dec 24, 2019.