News Analysis |
Rana Sanaullah, Pakistan Muslim League’s (PML-N) senior leader and member of the National Assembly, who is under the custody of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), was presented before a court on Saturday. The ANF also presented CCTV footage which, as per sources, the court has sealed off after getting it signed by Rana Sanaullah. Sources claim that the video has been presented as evidence that the arrest of the PML-N was made not on political grounds rather he was caught ‘red-handed’ by the ANF.
Sanaullah is accused of having ties with drug traffickers. ANF officials also claimed that they seized drugs from Sanaullah’s vehicle.
Rana Confessed to his Crime
The ANF has submitted a challan before the court and maintained that the lawmakers has confessed to be part of a large scale drug smuggling to earn money for his politics. According to the ANF challan, Sanaullah admitted to being involved in drugs smuggling for years in order to supplement his income and increase his social status. The statement by Rana Sanaullah notes, “I have been involved in narcotics smuggling for years. After I entered politics, my expenses started to increase alarmingly but my income remained meager. I created associations with drug smugglers as my political career evolved, especially after assuming the position of Law Minister in the Punjab Cabinet.”
Drugs worth $4bn were brunt this year. Pakistan enjoys poppy-free status since 2001, despite the fact that Pakistan neighbours Afghanistan–
a centre of poppy cultivation.
Rana Sanaullah added, “I realized that many politicians I knew had amassed billions and the senior leaders of all political parties had created illegal assets and properties. Being a middle-class man, greed got the better of me. I was well-suited to run a business of aiding criminals and smuggling drugs.”
The four-page ANF challan further notes Rana Sanaullah’s confession, “So, I began facilitating and aiding drug dealers, and eventually begin transporting drugs using my personal vehicles. It provided an easy strategy to evade the police and law enforcement personnel, since being an influence politician; no one would dare to examine my vehicle. “
However, his wife, Nabeela Sanaullah, has denied all charges and confessions made by her husband, accusing the ANF of creating a fabricated story to malign her husband. She added that the ANF was also attempting to film a fake video of Rana Sanaullah transporting drugs.
ANF has Sufficient Amount of Evidence
After his arrest, PML-N’s leaders claimed it to be a latest case of political victimization. It was also argued that the ANF won’t be able to establish the case before the court. However, Minister for Narcotics Control and SAFFRON Shehryar Khan Afridi on 4th July said that the ANF had been tracking Rana Sanaullah for the past three weeks and it has got all the relevant evidence. “We have all the relevant evidence regarding the arrest of Rana Sanaullah. However, we will furnish the evidence in court. It’s a mafia who can target witnesses and evidence,” said the minister, adding action would also be taken against more influential individuals.
Briefing the media, Gen Malik said the ANF was a professional force. He claimed the ANF seized drugs more than any other force across the world. “Drugs worth $4bn were brunt this year. Pakistan enjoys poppy-free status since 2001, despite the fact that Pakistan neighbours Afghanistan– a centre of poppy cultivation,” he said. He said that ANF’s professionalism could be gauged by the fact that its conviction rate is 95 per cent, which speaks volumes about its success.
Arrest on Valid Grounds?
Interestingly, the arrest of the PML-N lawmakers has polarized the media and civil society. There is one section which believes that there is going to be no reliable evidence in this case since the overall case is politically motivated. This group of journalists, generally accused of being Nawaz’s sympathizers, further argue that the case is political victimization due to Rana Sanaullah’s vocal political views against the establishment and the ruling party.
However, a major chunk of media and civil society believes that the case has been filed on some valid grounds since there has been ‘rumors suggesting the involvement of PML-N’s lawmaker’s in drugs-related matters. Independent journalists and experts believe that the law should take its own course and the court must decide as to what the truth is. It is also believed that the ANF is a non-political force which has worked vigorously to cope with the challenge of drugs mafia.