–Shehryar Afridi cites threats to witnesses, seeks hearing on daily basis
ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Saturday requested the Lahore High Court (LHC) to “immediately” transfer the case of former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah to Rawalpindi, citing protection of the witnesses while requesting the court for a daily hearing of the case.
“It is my humble submission to the Lahore High Court chief justice to shift Sanaullah’s case to Rawalpindi and order the court to conduct its hearing on daily basis,” Minister of State for Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi said in a press conference.
The minister also asked the Inspector General of Punjab Police to ensure the protection of witnesses after their “complaints of being threatened”.
“From the very first day, I emphasized in every press conference, talk show, and other forums to start Rana Sanaullah’s trial [after indictment] but I have failed to understand the reason behind procrastination,” he said, citing the report of a national daily which stated that the duty judge had turned down the prosecution plea for initiation of Sana’s trial stating that it was the job of a regular judge to indict an accused.
He said the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had sufficient evidence against Rana Sanaullah in the narcotics case which would be provided when the trial would officially start.
Therefore, the trial of Rana Sanaullah should be started at the earliest in order to remove confusion among the masses, he added.
Following the procedure mentioned in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), he claimed the ANF had submitted evidence against Rana Sanaullah in a court within 17 days of his arrest.
The evidence comprised “recovered heroin, weapons, chemical analysis report and other instruments of the case”, he added.
The government or any other institution could not intervene in the judicial process, he clarified.
Afridi said the media had started the ANF and government’s trial despite the fact that the prosecution witnesses were yet to record their statements before the court.
Though, the apex court had barred the media from airing the statement of an accused in Altaf Hussain case, the media was still giving full media coverage to Rana Sanaullah and creating hype in this case, he added.
Besides finding out Rana’s illegal investment in real estate, he said the government had traced out his bank accounts in which he had stashed big amount of money. The former law minister declared the advocacy as his source of income in tax returns, Afridi added.
Being an advocate, the minister said not a single law book carried Rana Sanaullah’s name.
He ‘appealed’ to the nation and media to avoid criticism on the government institutions as the ANF was working efficiently and rendered many sacrifices in a war against drugs.
The ANF, in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, had been tightening the noose around drug mafias instead of drug addicts to root out the trade of illegal substances in the country, he added.
The performance of ANF had been applauded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and other international institutions, the minister claimed.