Sanaullah speaks to
Gen Bajwa about
drug case registered
against him in 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has blamed former prime minister Imran Khan for the “spurious and mala fide” drugs case against him and said that he had spoken to Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa about the Anti-Narcotics Force’s (ANF) role in this regard, a private TV channel reported on Saturday.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah

Rana Sanaullah was arrested in the case in July 2019 under the previous PTI government by the ANF which claimed to have recovered 15kg of heroin from his vehicle. He was later granted bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC). Sanaullah alleged on Geo News show “Naya Pakistan” that former prime minister Imran Khan, former advisor on accountability Shahzad Akbar, and former Director General ANF Major General Arif Malik were involved in filing a fake case of 15kg of heroin possession against him.

A special court for the control of narcotic substances in Lahore has summoned the interior minister on July 23 for the framing of charges against him. In a series of tweets, Sanaullah iterated the PML-N’s claims, alleging that Imran was the “mastermind of the bogus case” while former adviser on accountability and interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar and former DG ANF were “complicit”.

“Shahzad Akbar impelled the capital police to place a bag of 15-kilo heroin in my lodge which [they] refused to do so. All the proceedings were undertaken on the directives of the former premier who wanted me behind the bars due to his personal enmity,” he said. Sanaullah added that he had written and spoken to the army chief about the ANF’s role in the case against him.

Responding to Sanaullah’s claim, Akbar said that several cabinet members, including Chaudhry and him, had expressed concerns over the case in a meeting. Sanaullah was arrested on July 1, 2019 by the ANF Lahore team while he was travelling from Faisalabad to Lahore near the Ravi Toll Plaza on the motorway.

He was accused of carrying 15kg of heroin in his vehicle. Five others, including the driver and security guards of the PML-N leader, were also arrested. A first information report was lodged under Section 9(C) of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act 1997, which carries death penalty or life imprisonment or a jail term that may extend to 14 years, along with a fine up to Rs1 million.

He was twice denied bail by the trial court but the LHC released him on December 24, 2019. A day earlier, Rana Sanaullah had alleged that former prime minister Imran Khan, former advisor on accountability Shahzad Akbar, and former Director General ANF Major General Arif Malik were involved in filing a fake case of 15kg of heroin possession against him. He further alleged that Akbar was in possession of the bag containing 15kg of heroin and that he asked the Islamabad police to plant it in his room at Parliament Lodges.

“When Islamabad Police refused, Maj Gen Malik got involved in this conspiracy and got benefits in return,” he claimed. The interior minister said that in addition to Fawad Chaudhry, Tariq Bashir Cheema and Ijaz Shah in the cabinet also called the case a hoax.