Rana Sanaullah Khan (Urdu: رانا ثناء اللہ; born 1 January 1955) is a Pakistani lawyer and politician who served as the 39th Interior Minister of Pakistan. He had been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from August 2018 till August 2023. He is a senior member of PML-N and the President of PML-N in Punjab province[2] since 4 May 2019. Before getting elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan, Sanaullah had been elected to the Provincial Assembly of Punjab five times and had served in high-ranking ministries of the province.

Rana Sanaullah
رانا ثناء اللہ
Sanaullah in 2015
39th Interior Minister of Pakistan
In office
19 April 2022 – 10 August 2023
Prime MinisterShehbaz Sharif
PresidentArif Alvi
Preceded bySheikh Rasheed Ahmad
Succeeded bySarfraz Bugti
Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan
In office
13 August 2018 – 10 August 2023
Succeeded byNisar Ahmad Jutt
ConstituencyNA-106 Faisalabad-VI
Provincial Minister of Punjab for Law and Parliamentary Affairs
In office
11 June 2013 – 31 May 2018
Chief MinisterShehbaz Sharif
In office
3 July 2008 – 20 March 2013
Chief MinisterShehbaz Sharif
Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Provincial Assembly of Punjab
In office
Speaker AssemblyChaudhry Muhammad Afzal Sahi
Leader of the OppositionQasim Zia
In office
Speaker AssemblyMian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo
Leader of the OppositionRana Ikram Rabbani
Member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab
In office
1 June 2013 – 31 May 2018
ConstituencyPP-70 Faisalabad-XX
In office
3 July 2008 – 20 March 2013
ConstituencyPP-70 Faisalabad-XX
In office
25 November 2002 – 17 November 2007
ConstituencyPP-70 Faisalabad-XX
In office
18 February 1997 – 12 October 1999
ConstituencyPP-59 Faisalabad
In office
5 November 1990 – 28 June 1993
ConstituencyPP-59 Faisalabad
Personal details
Rana Sanaullah Khan

(1955-01-01) 1 January 1955 (age 69)
Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan
Political partyPakistan Muslim League (N) (1993-present)
Other political
Pakistan Peoples Party (1988-1993)
RelationsIftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry (cousin)[1]

Previously, he has served as the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister of Punjab from 2008 to 2018, Local Governments and Community Development Minister of Punjab from 2008 to 2014, Revenue Minister of Punjab from 2008 to 2013, Public Prosecution Minister of Punjab from 2008 to 2013, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Punjab) from 1990 to 1993 and again from 2002 to 2007.

Early life and education edit

Rana Sanaullah Khan was born on 1 January 1955 to Sher Muhammad Khan into a Punjabi Rajput family, and is a practicing lawyer, holding a bachelor's degree in commerce from Government College, Faisalabad and an LLB from Punjab Law College, Lahore.[3]

He's a cousin of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.[1]

Political career edit

Pakistan People's Party edit

Rana Sanaullah was elected to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab as a candidate of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in 1990 Pakistani general election.

Pakistan Muslim League (N) edit

He was re-elected to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab as a candidate of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) in 1997 Pakistani general election.

He was re-elected to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab from PP-70 (Faisalabad-XX) as a candidate of (PML-N) in 2002 Pakistani general election. He was also elected as the leader of opposition of the Punjab Provincial Assembly.[4] In 2003, he was abducted by alleged intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and was badly tortured for speaking against military regime. Different pictures published in different newspaper showed Rana without his signature moustache and a shaved head. His acquaintances claim that the torture resulted in such an everlasting effect that interrupted the natural process of hair growth and since then his hair didn't grow that bushy as they were before.[5] When freed, he was subsequently shifted to DHQ hospital.[5]

He was re-elected to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab from PP-70 (Faisalabad-XX) as a candidate of (PML-N) in 2008 Pakistani general election.[6]

He was re-elected to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab from PP-70 (Faisalabad-XX) as a candidate of (PML-N) in 2013 Pakistani general election.[7]

He was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan from NA-106 (Faisalabad-VI) as a candidate of (PML-N) in 2018 Pakistani general election.[8]

Political controversies edit

Alleged links with militant organizations edit

Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab who was himself assassinated in 2011 by Mumtaz Qadri, a militant Islamist, before his death accused the PML-N in general and Rana Sanaullah in particular of entertaining links with militant organizations such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a group known to use violence against Pakistan's religious minorities, especially the Shi'as. Observers note that Taseer's security at the time of his death was in the hands of the PML-N, Shehbaz Sharif being the Chief Minister of the province while Rana Sanaullah was the Law Minister.[9]

Rana Sanaullah met SSP's leader Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi in February 2010, in his capacity as Law Minister and PML-N leader, arguing that the SSP "had a vast following and vote-bank and that its support made political sense", eventually justifying the electoral alliance between the PML-N and SSP.[10] Christophe Jaffrelot goes further, saying that it's not only about political alliance for Rana Sanaullah but also ideological affinities, as during that campaign he "showed devotion to SSP heroes", having paid respect at the tombs of Haq Nawaz Jhangvi and Azam Tariq.[11]

Warren Weinstein edit

In August 2011, he accused an American contractor in Pakistan Warren Weinstein of being an American spy although Weinstein had lived in Pakistan for seven years and there was no evidence that he was a spy. Weinstein went missing a week later and was accidentally killed in a January 2015 US drone strike on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, as announced by U.S. President Barack Obama at a White House press conference on April 23, 2015.[12][13]

Model Town incident edit

On 17 June 2014, Punjab Police raided the Minhaj-ul-Quran International's Lahore secretariat on the pretext of removing security barriers from its surroundings. Tahir-ul-Qadri's followers, who were preparing for his arrival from Canada to launch an anti-government movement on 23 June 2014, protested and deadly skirmishes started. A dozen of Tahir-ul-Qadri's devotees were killed including three women and around hundred got seriously wounded from bullet shots.[14][15][16] Rana Sanaullah, who is considered only second to the Chief Minister, remained adamant that the police action was justified which added to the public fury.[17]

In the wake of public reaction and opposition's criticism, Shahbaz Sharif sacked Rana Sanaullah as Law Minister, and Punjab's top bureaucrat.[18] However, Qadri and other opposition leaders including Imran Khan held Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab, responsible for the civilian deaths at the hands of police and demanded his resignation.[19] FIR of Model Town tragedy was registered against key figures of the present government including the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and Rana Sanaullah.[20]

A joint-investigation-team (JIT) was later formed to investigate the incident. The government led JIT he was sworn in as Punjab Law Minister again in May 2015.[21]

However no conclusive actions has been taken regarding the incident.

Narcotics case edit

When Sanaullah was travelling from Faisalabad to Lahore in July 2019, the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) Lahore team detained him close to the Ravi Toll Plaza on the highway. Under Section 9(C) of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act of 1997, which contains the death penalty, life in prison, or a sentence that may last up to 14 years in jail, as well as a fine of up to Rs1 million, a first information report was filed.[22][23]

According to the First Information Report (FIR), Sanaullah was allegedly involved in drug trafficking and was transporting heroin to Lahore. This information had been provided to the force. He was twice denied bail by the trial court, but on December 24, 2019, the Lahore High Court granted him liberty.[24]

Sanaullah's plea edit

Sanaullah claimed on 10 December 2022 that the case against him was "concocted, designed, and created" after the multiple hearings. In the name of justice, equity, and fair play, he pleaded with the court to drop the charges against him. Sanaullah's lawyer informed the court that "Sanaullah had nothing to do with narcotics" and that "the case was a political ploy." He added that there were contradictions between the witness testimony and the camera footage.[25]

Imtiaz Ahmed, Assistant Director of the ANF, and Inspector Ehsaan Azam rejected the accusations against him during the final hearing, calling them "false."[22] Along with other petitioners, Sanaullah asserted that this was an instance of political victimization. They said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry had explicitly stated that this case had not been filed during the administration of ousted primer minister Imran Khan and had instead been brought by "influential people" in the country.[26]

Acquittal in narcotics case edit

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was exonerated on December 10, 2022, by a special court in Lahore following multiple hearings and his submission of a plea.[26][27][28]

References edit

  1. ^ a b CJP favours PML-N because of cousin Rana Sanaullah, The Express Tribune newspaper, Published 16 December 2011, Retrieved 9 June 2017
  2. ^ "Provincial Officials – PMLN". Retrieved 2022-03-01.
  3. ^ "Rana Sanaullah". Dawn News. 13 January 2012. Archived from the original on 12 February 2024. He hails from a Rajput family. A practicing lawyer, he holds bachelors in commerce from Government College, Faisalabad and an LLB from Punjab Law College, Lahore.
  4. ^ "Punjab Assembly - Members - Members' Directory". www.pap.gov.pk.
  5. ^ a b "Rana Sanaullah tortured". 10 March 2003.
  6. ^ "Punjab Assembly - Members - Members' Directory". www.pap.gov.pk.
  7. ^ "Punjab Assembly - Members - Members' Directory". www.pap.gov.pk.
  8. ^ "NA-106 Results - Election 2018 Results - - Candidates List - Constituency Details - Geo.tv". www.geo.tv.
  9. ^ Faith-Based Violence and Deobandi Militancy in Pakistan. Palgrave Macmillan UK. 2016. p. 242.
  10. ^ Abou Zahab, Mariam (2020). Pakistan: A Kaleidoscope of Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 143.
  11. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2015). The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience. Oxford University Press. p. 615.
  12. ^ Warren Weinstein Pakistan Kidnapping: Three Suspects Arrested – ABC News website, Published 24 August 2011, Retrieved 9 June 2017
  13. ^ U.S. drone strike accidentally killed 2 hostages, Updated 2326 GMT (0726 HKT) April 23, 2015 /
  14. ^ 7 dead, 80 injured in clash between PAT and Lahore Police, The Nation (Pakistan) newspaper, 17 June 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  15. ^ Eight killed in police action at Minhajul Quran secretariat in Lahore, The News International, 17 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  16. ^ Pakistan witnesses a day-long ‘revolution’ drama, Al Arabiya, 24 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2017
  17. ^ Model Town mayhem: Opposition takes government to task, law minister remains adamant , Daily Times, 18 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  18. ^ Shahbaz romoves Sanaullah as minister, Dawn (newspaper), 21 June 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  19. ^ Model Town killings: Shahbaz must tender resignation, says Imran Khan, The Express Tribune, 22 June 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  20. ^ Massacre, Lahore. "Model Town Lahore Massacre: FIR lodged against 21 including PM, CM - Lahore Massacre, A website on Punjab Police Brutality in Model Town, Lahore". Lahore Massacre.
  21. ^ Dawn.com (2015-05-29). "Rana Sanaullah back as Punjab law minister". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  22. ^ a b Bilal, Rana (2022-12-10). "Lahore court acquits Rana Sanaullah in narcotics case". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  23. ^ "ANF arrests Rana Sanaullah for carrying drugs". The Express Tribune. 2019-07-01. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  24. ^ "The inside story of Rana Sanaullah's arrest by the ANF". www.geo.tv. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  25. ^ Desk, BR Web (2022-12-10). "Rana Sanaullah acquitted in narcotics case". Brecorder. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  26. ^ a b "Court acquits Rana Sanaullah in narcotics case". The Express Tribune. 2022-12-10. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  27. ^ "Rana Sanaullah acquitted in drugs case". www.geo.tv. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  28. ^ "Preparations to welcome Nawaz Sharif launched". Daily Times. 2022-12-10. Retrieved 2022-12-10.