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July 2, 2019

Sanaullah was baffled since long over non-arrest


July 2, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah was always taken aback over the delay in taking a stern action against him on account of his hard-hitting politics and unflinching commitment with his party.

Whenever this correspondent talked to him to get his version on different parliamentary and political developments, the talk about no immediate action against him mostly cropped up. He always smilingly said he was bemused over his non-detention.

Rana Sanaullah, who was taken into custody by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) on Monday, had said that he was not fearful of arrest and was prepared for any eventuality for his political stand. He said his loyalty with the PML-N was beyond question come what may, and it couldn’t be changed by any tactics.

When sometime back a report surfaced that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to summon him in an inquiry, this reporter talked to him. “After facing no probe and action from official quarters, I was thinking to improve my ‘performance’ so that something is started against me,” he had said in a lighter vein when his comments were sought on a probe launched by the anti-corruption watchdog against him, accusing him of changing the design of an underpass in Faisalabad.

The PML-N leader said he seriously pondered over doing something special to qualify for an inquest especially after reports poured in regarding NAB’s investigations against a person like former Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb.

“I believed I lagged behind others in my party; otherwise, I too would have been questioned long time ago and seized,” the former Punjab law minister said in a sarcastic tone. He said that several mega projects worth Rs100 billion were completed in Faisalabad for the benefit of the entire city.

They included underpasses, flyovers, signal-free canal expressway etc. The underpass in question leads to the motorway for those going to Lahore, Multan, Islamabad and Peshawar, which is a great facility. Its design can’t be changed by anybody, he said.

“The standard practice with the departments is to manage an application from someone against ‘irresponsible’ PML-N leaders,” he claimed. He said that he was a Punjab minister for 10 years from 2008 to 2018 and what NAB has found to allege was the change of the underpass design. There is no allegation of corruption, commission or kickbacks, he said.

Rana Sanaullah was virtually number two of Shahbaz Sharif when the latter ruled Punjab as its chief minister for 10 years. He used to be the trouble-shooter of the then provincial government in all difficult situations.

He was the rare PML-N leader, who equally enjoyed the complete confidence of incarcerated former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, party president Shahbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz. He was among the chosen few party stalwarts, who were present in Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal’s meeting with Maryam Nawaz a few weeks ago. In the last reshuffle, the PML-N appointed him as the president of its Punjab chapter due to his performance.

Back in March 2003 during Pervez Musharraf’s regime, Rana Sanaullah, when he was the deputy opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, had been picked up by a dozen masked men and was thrown on the service lane of the Pakistan motorway in serious condition two days later.

The unidentified men made him stop his car at the Circular Road, Lahore, pushed out his secretary, blew up the tyres using a dagger, covered his face with a black mask and took him away. After a three to four-minute drive, they reached a place where his face was uncovered. He was beaten by the kidnappers. His head, beard, eyebrows and moustaches were shaved off. He was beaten with iron rods, was inflicted multiple lacerations to his body with the help of blades and was sprayed some chemical on the wounds.

Rana Sanaullah was later admitted to a hospital where doctors found 22 lacerations to the body and head. Injuries were inflicted in a way to make the victim feel pain for the rest of his life. No bone was fractured.

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