A special narcotics court fixed on Tuesday June 25 as the date to frame charges on federal interior minister Rana Sanaullah in the drugs peddling case, registered against him by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).
The judge of the Special Court for Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) also directed the concerned quarters to submit replies on Sanaullah’s plea seeking his bank accounts and properties to be unfrozen.
During the proceedings, the court asked the counsel whether the accused were prepared as the court intended to frame charges against them.
The defense counsel argued for the charges to be framed on the next date of hearing as the interior minister would have to travel from Islamabad to reach Lahore.
The prosecution initially resisted the plea, but later agreed to the court passing an appropriate order.
Earlier, the interior minister, also the Punjab president for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), had filed a plea seeking directions to the authorities concerned for unfreezing his four back accounts frozen by the ANF on May 17.
The application had contended that the petitioner was being subjected to political victimisation as he had been raising his voice on several issues.
He maintained that he had been appearing before the ANF and any other forums where his appearance was required but his accounts had been frozen without any logic. He further argued that he had been granted bail by the Lahore High Court and had been appearing before the trial court.
He also informed the court that the freezing of his bank accounts had disturbed his life, requesting the court to issue directives to the quarters concerned to restore his bank accounts.
On July 1, 2019, Sanaullah was arrested by the ANF Lahore team while he was travelling from Faisalabad to Lahore near the Ravi Toll Plaza on the motorway, claiming to have seized 15kg of 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.
According to the FIR registered by the ANF deputy director operations - under sections 186,189 and 353 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), while sections 15, 17 of 9C of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act (CNSA) 1997 - the ANF had received information that Rana Sanaullah was involved in drug smuggling and now was now taking heroin to Lahore.
It is pertinent to note that Section 9(C) of the CNSA 1997 carries death penalty or life imprisonment or a jail term that may extend to 14 years, along with a fine of up to Rs1 million.
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