–Shehbaz says bail is proof of Sanaullah’s innocence
–Firdous says LHC has set ‘unique precedent’ by granting bail to PML-N leader
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday granted bail to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Punjab President Rana Sanaullah in a case pertaining to the drug smuggling filed against him by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).
On July 1, the ANF officials arrested Rana Sanaullah from Islamabad-Lahore Motorway near Sukheki, while he was traveling from Faisalabad to Lahore.
ANF had registered an FIR against the PML-N leader under 9-C, 15 and 17 of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act. It was alleged that ANF recovered 15 kilogrammes of heroin and other drugs from Sanaullah’s car, whereas the operation was conducted on a tip-off.
The trial court had twice rejected the bail petition, filed by Rana Sanaullah in the case. However, the co-accused had been granted bail.
It may be mentioned that a new CNS judge was appointed in Sanaullah’s case last month after his predecessor was removed mid-hearing.
“I have just received a Whatsapp message, the Lahore High Court has repatriated me. I cannot lend my expertise to this case anymore,” Judge Masood Arshad had said as he excused himself from hearing the case. Though, the law ministry had denied the claim of Whatsapp notification.
Reacting to the verdict, Leader of Opposition in National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif said that the bail was proof that a “false case” was made against Sanaullah.
Reacting to Rana Sanaullah’s bail, he said that an “innocent man was charged with drugs but thanks to Allah almighty that he finally gets justice”.
The PML-N president went on to say that the independence of judiciary and institutions was a guarantee for Pakistan’s development and prosperity. Shehbaz further regretted that the incompetent government was using institutions for political revenge.
Commenting on the bail granted to Sanaullah, government’s chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan at a press conference said the ANF will present evidence against the former provincial minister once the trial of the case begins.
She suggested that the “influential” accused in the case had used “resources” which led to judges recusing themselves from hearing the case.
Once a judge was appointed, Sanaullah’s lawyers “created obstacles” in the commencement of the trial by using different excuses, Awan alleged.
“The trial of the case has not yet started. ANF will present evidence once the trial begins,” she said.
Awan said the LHC has set a “unique precedent” by granting Sanaullah bail, but added that the concerned minister would comment on the decision. “What the court judgements are saying is being heard by you and seen by us,” she said without elaborating.