LAHORE: Former Punjab law minister and PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah has said that after Aleem Khan, Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi’s arrest is on the cards.
On Wednesday, Aleem Khan was arrested by NAB in a case involving possession of assets beyond his known means of income. In an exclusive interview with a private television channel Saturday, Sanaullah claimed that it was Imran Khan’s decision to arrest Aleem Khan.
“There are three people from Lahore, including Aleem, who report directly to PM Khan,” he said. “Their phones were tapped and were under surveillance by a civil intelligence agency.” Sanaullah said that the civil intelligence agency in question reports directly to the prime minister. “If it’s tapping the phones of ministers and the Punjab assembly speaker, you can guess on whose orders they are doing this.” These things can’t remain hidden forever, he added.
If ministers’ phones are being tapped, it means that he [the PM] does not trust them, Sanaullah said. The PML-N leader said that it is impossible that NAB would not inform the chief executive of the country before arresting Aleem Khan. “I challenge Imran Khan to say that he did not know before hand of Aleem Khan’s arrest.”
Sanaullah said that Aleem Khan has done a lot for the prime minister. “You [Imran Khan] should have warned him and told him to get bail before arrest from a high court.” Commenting on why Aleem Khan was arrested, Sanaullah said that if they [NAB] are going to arrest 50 people from the opposition, they ought to arrest at least five from the government.
The former minister said that after Elahi, the same will happen to Pervez Khattak and Atif Khan. “Only that devil from Rawalpindi will be left with him [PM Khan],” said Sanaullah in a veiled reference to Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed.
“If they arrest Elahi, I don’t think they’ll be able to sustain in the Punjab,” said Sanaullah. “He’s a smart man. He knows what they want to do with him.” This is exactly the reason why the PML-Q threatened them, he added. Otherwise, he would have been the first one instead of Aleem Khan.
He also said that the PTI is facing resentment from within the party. “There are 25-30 people who have warned them [PTI] that Aleem must be freed by February 15.” “If this happens, it would be the end of NAB. If it does not happen, the PTI government in Punjab won’t last till March.”
Aleem Khan has done favours to many people. “He got many people PTI’s election tickets and even gave money to contest elections,” he said. Sanaullah warned that this could derail democracy. “This is exactly the reason why the opposition does not want to topple the government.”
However, Sanaullah warned that if the government tried to remove Shehbaz Sharif as the chairperson of the PAC, PML-N won’t let the parliament work. Sanaullah said that his party is in contact with estranged PTI MPAs. “We have assured them that once Hamza Shahzbaz returns, we will sit with them,” he said. Some of these people are the ones who were elected as independent candidates and later joined the PTI, he added.