–Minister challenges PML-N leader to ‘face trial like a man’ instead of ‘beating around the bush’
–PML-N leader says no inquiry was conducted as ANF officials who arrested him were ‘clueless’
ISLAMABAD: Minister for States and Frontier Regions and Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah had a heated exchange of words over the narcotics case during the session of the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday when the former challenged the latter to “face the trial like a man” only to be told that no inquiry was conducted in the case.
Afridi said that Sanaullah did not want to face the court in the case. Referring to the last sitting of the House where the former Punjab law minister had picked up the Holy Quran and sworn that he was innocent, the minister said, “I have been told that he is carrying around the Holy Quran with him. You should learn to follow the holy book.”
“If you are speaking the truth, go to the courts and fight like a man. Stop beating around the bush,” he said, adding that the incumbent government did not come to power to target or bully opponents.
The minister’s speech was interrupted by the PML-N leader’s entry into the house. Seeing that Sanaullah was carrying a file, Afridi said, “I thought you would bring a copy of the Holy Quran today but you have brought a file instead. Anyway, let us take this matter to a logical conclusion here today. There is a hearing on January 18, let him stand up and say that the trial should be initiated so that the truth can be revealed.”
“Don’t run away. This government and ministry will not let you run away. We will take this to the end because this matter concerns my generation and my country,” he said.
The minister further said that members from opposition parties commend him for being a “man’s son”. “It’s not me who is the son of a man, it is the people who stand before tyrants. We will take this case to its end. Read my eyes Rana sahib. Initiate the trial so that the truth can come out,” he added.
After the conclusion of Afridi’s speech, Sanaullah addressed the House and denied his involvement in the case. “May God curse me if I have ever been in contact with a heroin dealer or tried to influence on behalf of anyone. The ANF officials, who arrested me last year, had no idea about the case being prepared against me,” he said.
“I have been accused of having links with an international gang which supply drugs to all over the world after bringing it to Lahore and Faisalabad from Afghanistan. If it is true then why has the government not arrested any other member of the gang when I had been in jail for seven months?” asked the PML-N leader.
Sanaullah said that the trial of a case can only start after registration of a first information report (FIR) and completion of inquiry. “However, no inquiry has been conducted in the case,” he added.
The former Punjab law minister was arrested by the ANF Lahore team in July last year while he was travelling from Faisalabad to Lahore near the Ravi Toll Plaza on the motorway, claiming to have seized 15kg heroin from his vehicle. A special team of the force had also arrested five others, including the driver and security guards of the PML-N leader.
Sanaullah, who insists that he has been arrested in a false case and is being politically victimised, was granted bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in December last year.