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Rana Sanaullah acquitted in drugs case

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  • PML-N leader given clean chit in drugs smuggling case.
  • Prosecutor resigns 15 mins before court was to take up acquittal plea.
  • PML-N takes a jibe at PTI after acquittal.

LAHORE: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Saturday has been acquitted by a special court in Lahore in a drugs smuggling case filed against him in 2019.

Sanaullah was arrested on July 01, 2019, by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) Lahore team near Ravi Toll Plaza on the motorway. He was travelling from Faisalabad to Lahore. 

The ANF claimed to have recovered 15kg of heroin from his vehicle, while it arrested five others, including Sanaullah’s driver and security guards.

He was sent on judicial remand the next day by the court.

Sanaullah remained incarcerated for six months until the Lahore High Court (LHC) granted him bail on December 24, 2019.

The then PTI government drew heavy fire from the opposition and was alleged of carrying out a political witch-hunt against rivals. The Imran Khan-led regime, however, denied having a hand in Sanaullah’s arrest.

The PML-N leader had filed a plea in the court seeking acquittal today and sought an early hearing. The court then fixed the hearing for 2pm.

At the outset of the hearing, Prosecutor Danish Mashkoor informed the court that he has resigned and was no more associated with the case. “I can not sign off witnesses’ statement.”

After this, the remaining two prosecutors signed the document.

Rana Sanaullah’s counsel, Advocate Farhad Shah, argued before the court that two witnesses in the case have retracted their statements. “They were witnesses of the recovery memo,” the defence informed the court and added, “The prosecution has no case to prove”.

The court then announced the verdict acquitting Rana Sanaullah and other co-accused Sibtain, Usman, Amir, and Akram from the drugs smuggling case.

Witnesses retract statements

Inspector Ehsan Azam, a witness in the case, said: “he has no knowledge of the events nor was the recovery made in his presence”.

“I did not witness recovery. I was made a witness but I don’t know the facts neither I support the prosecution’s case in any way.”

Another witness, Assistant Director Imtiaz Ahmed, told the court that he was not aware of Rana Sanaullah’s case and drugs were not recovered in his presence.

“I was made a witness in the case; I do not support the prosecution’s case. I did not see any recovery of drugs.”

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36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s JUI-F resignation from the Senate

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Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the JUI-F leader’s resignation, which he accepted.

In the National Assembly, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri will be sworn in as a member.

Following their victories in the general elections on February 8 for the Balochistan Assembly, Senators Sarfraz Bugti and Prince Umar Ahmedzai had already announced their resignations from the Senate.

Prior carer Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the resignation of Federal Interior Minister Bugti, which he accepted.

In a similar vein, Senator Prince Umar Ahmedzai of the Balochistan Awami Party resigned from the Senate following his election to the provincial legislature.

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NA session: The interim government addresses President Alvi’s concerns

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Details indicate that in response, the federal government informed Dr. Arif Alvi that Article 91 of the 1973 Constitution does not grant the president the “discretion or power” to adjourn the National Assembly session.

The sources quoted the federal administration and said, “Nowhere in Article 91 is it written that if the House is incomplete, the National Assembly session cannot be convened.”

It further said that Article 54 of the constitution allowed the president to adjourn the National Assembly’s “ordinary” session alone. According to the summary, the president was requested to call an extraordinary session of the National Assembly so that the newly elected members may take an oath of office.

Dr. Arif Alvi was asked to reconsider his choice and call a meeting of the National Assembly by the acting federal government on February 29.

The sources quoted the federal government and stated, “It is not written anywhere in the constitution that if specific seats are not allotted, the session cannot be called.”

It further said that the National Assembly must be called within 21 days following the election in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution.

The caretaker administration responded, saying, “Even if the President does not call the National Assembly session by February 29, it would still be held on the same day.”

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called a session of the National Assembly on Thursday, February 29th, in order to administer the oath to the newly elected Members of Congress earlier on Monday.

According to specifics, President Arif Alvi declined to call a meeting under clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution, arguing that the lower body is still unfinished because a decision on certain reserved seats has not yet been made. Consequently, the Speaker National Assembly called the meeting.

The National Assembly’s maiden session was called by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The freshly elected members of the National Assembly would take the oath of office from the Speaker. During the first session, the election schedules for speaker and deputy speaker will also be released.

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