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ISLAMABAD: The court needs to force Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to appear before it in a drug peddling case registered against him by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), said chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Narcotics Control Senator Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhary here on Wednesday.

He said that officials of the Ministry of Narcotics Control informed the committee during the meeting that the final challan had been submitted to Narcotics Substances (CNS) court in 2019 but charges were not framed due to the non-appearance of the accused.

Talking to the media after the meeting, he said that the court needs to adopt its procedure and need to bind such people to ensure their presence before the court.

Court summoned Sanaullah but he did not appear before it, he said, adding that I do not think that this is a responsible attitude of a federal minister.

“A drama has been staged in the country and especially, the imported government is involved in such activities”, he said.

Earlier, an ANF official, while briefing the committee about high-profile cases including drug cases against the interior minister, said that the case against Sanaullah is under trial before CNS Court, Lahore, which was fixed for hearing on October 10 for charge framing but was adjourned till October 15 due non-appearance of the accused.

The ANF had submitted the final challan before the court in November 2019, he said, adding that charges against the accused would be framed when all the accused appear before the court.

The committee, after a detailed discussion, passed the Control of Narcotics Substance (Amendment) Act, 2022 moved by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed with amendments.

According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, the law relating to narcotics has recently been amended with a view to check the ownership of assets supposed to be the proceeds of the narcotics business, however, the generalised power of taking action against the supposed “other means of concealment” needs to be qualified by the addition of the term “as may be prescribed”.

Senator Ahmed said that the main objective of his proposed amended to further elaborate on the recent amendment made by the government in the CNS law. He said that his not satisfied with the brief submitted by the ministry before the committee regarding his amendment.

He said that in the Control of Narcotics Substances Act, 1997, in Section 12, in Clause (c), after the word “any other means of concealment” the commas and words, “as may be prescribed”, shall be inserted.

In the act without defining the other means of concealment they left it open-ended which can be misused, he said, adding that the other means of concealment should be defined otherwise authorities will misuse it. He further said that if the ministry thinks that prescribed means section 12 (a) and (b) of CNS act 1997 then write section 12 (a) and (b) after prescribe.

According to the brief submitted by the ministry regarding the bill, the mover has emphasized that the amendment “other means of concealment” in the act need to be qualified by the addition of the term as may be prescribed. Whereas, the mode of possession of assets derived by the accused or possessed on his behalf is already prescribed in section 12 (a) and (b) of the CNS Act 1997.

The official of the ministry of narcotics control informed the committee that according to Drug Prevalence Survey conducted by United Nations Office on Drug Crime (UNODC) in 2012 the total number of drug addicts in Pakistan was 2012. After 2012 no survey was conducted in the country, he said, adding that carrying out a fresh survey is mandatory for determining the exact number of drug addicts in the country.

However, he said that the Ministry of Narcotics Control will launch a fresh “Drug Prevalence Survey” on November 26. The ministry will invite members of the committee to attend the launching ceremony, he said.

The meeting was also attended by Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar, Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tarin, and officials of the Ministry of Narcotics Control attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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