The government plans to move the Supreme Court against the Lahore High Court’s decision to grant bail to Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Rana Sanaullah in a narcotics possession case.
This was announced by Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) and Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi on Wednesday, a day after the former Punjab law minister was granted bail by the LHC.
Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, the minister also sought to distance the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government from the investigation against the senior PML-N leader.
Afridi said there had been “no interference” by the government in the case and that neither he nor PM Imran Khan had any personal grudges against any politician.“He [Sanaullah] was arrested by the Anti-Narcotics Force which is a professional unit and we never interfered in the matter.” “We accept the court’s decision but there can be no doubt that delaying tactics were used in the case. I was even threatened when a case was filed against him [Sanaullah]. All evidence including video footage has been provided to the court,” said the minister.
He stressed that Sanaullah was still an accused and had not been exonerated of charges of narcotics possession.
“This seems to be a season of granting bail,” said Afridi, referring to the release on bail of several high-profile political personalities over the past few weeks. The minister urged journalists to refrain from “conducting a media trial” and vowed no compromise in the government’s “fight against mafias”.
He said that they had still not been provided with the LHC order, adding that Sanaullah’s bail had been granted in a verbal order.
“We will wait for the court’s written order to present our stance,” he wrote. Afridi, however, said that as the media had issued its verdict before the court’s written order, the government wanted to take the nation into confidence on the matter.
“We respect the court decisions and will continue to do so. Others should also respect the court decisions, not just decisions in your favour.” He said that some segments of the media had given the impression that the PML-N leader had been acquitted.
In a fiery press conference, Afridi said Sanaullah had been granted bail, not acquitted, adding that a perception had been created that the case was weak.
“All evidence was submitted to the court within 17 days of the arrest,” Afridi said, adding that he had seen the evidence with his own eyes. Following Sanaullah’s arrest in July, Afridi had said the ANF had “video footage” of the PML-N Punjab president before it moved to arrest him.
“One thing is being connected to me — video, video, video.
“In the first press conference, with the DG ANF […] I referenced some footage. It was presented in a strange way.” In response to a query over the “footages” in question, Afridi said: “Look at all my press conferences […] wherever I spoke about the videos I said [we have the] footages. In 17 days, all things were provided.”