Interior Minister to be indicted in drugs case on June 25

A special court for the control of narcotic substances in Lahore stated on Tuesday that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah will be indicted in a drugs-related case on June 25.

The minister was arrested in July 2019 by the Anti-Narcotics Force which claimed to have recovered 15kg of heroin from his vehicle.

“Sanaullah’s lawyer is stating that the charge may be framed on the next date of hearing because the accused is the federal interior minister and he has to run to Islamabad immediately,” the court said in its written order.

The state prosecutors were reluctant at first but eventually agreed to the court’s order as well, the order said.

“In these circumstances, the in-hand case is adjourned to June 25,” the order added.

Meanwhile, the court also sought a reply from the ANF regarding the minister’s application to unfreeze his property and bank accounts.

During the last hearing, Sanaullah’s counsel argued that the ANF had accused his client of being in the drugs business for the last 10 years but his frozen assets and bank accounts were being maintained earlier than the mentioned period.

He said Sanaullah had been facing severe financial problems as he was unable to withdraw his salary from the bank and had thus filed a petition requesting to unfreeze his accounts.

Rana Sanaullah was arrested on July 1, 2019, by the ANF Lahore team while he was on his way from Faisalabad to Lahore near the Ravi Toll Plaza on the motorway. Five others, including his driver and security guards, were also arrested.

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.

He was twice denied bail by the trial court but the Lahore High Court (LCH) released him on Dec 24, 2019.