Ephedrine scandal: More questions put forward at the PM House

Published: April 24, 2012

Ali Musa has been named by the brigadier in the Supreme Court as the main accused in a multi-million rupee scandal. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: Neither the prime minister, nor Ali Musa Gilani’s lawyer, Salman Raja, not even Musa himself, accused Brigadier Fahim Ahmed Khan, Force Commander of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF)’s Regional Directorate, Rawalpindi, of being involved in what they alluded to be a ‘conspiracy’ to malign the premier’s family.

Ali Musa has been named by the brigadier in the Supreme Court as the main accused in a multi-million rupee scandal involving the quota allocation of a controlled substance, ephedrine.

However, the three left no doubt in the minds of the eight media persons — seven television anchor persons and one newspaper man – specially invited to the Prime Minister House for a detailed briefing on the matter, as to who they thought was behind it all.

Similarly, while none of the three named the president as being the real target of the ‘conspiracy’, their 90-minute long interchange with the media persons made it impossible for one not to leave with the impression that, since the prime minister was the main hurdle in the way of getting to the president, attempts were being made by some quarters to remove him from the scene by scandalising him and his family.

The whole burden of Salman Raja’s argument was that there is nothing in the voluminous documents detailing the investigations conducted so far, comprising statements of about 70 persons under section 161 of CrPc, which he said he had obtained from the court’s record, to implicate Musa Gilani in the case – except a quote from one of the accused, former Director-General Health, Rasheed Juma, stating that he had received a telephone call from a person who claimed that he was Ali Musa Gilani.

Raja thought that, if that is all they have against Musa, then there is no case against him, “unless the ANF has something more incriminating against him and have not so far revealed it.”

Musa let his lawyer do most of the talking for almost half an hour before the prime minister joined the briefing, after which began a question & answer session between the media persons and the premier.

Most of what the PM said in his responses to some very searching questions was off the record.

Khushnood Lashari, the prime minister’s principal secretary, who was also present on the occasion, on being asked refuted all allegations that Brigadier Fahim had levelled against him in his affidavit.

No one, however, attempted to deny or confirm that a crime had not been committed – but said Musa, who flew back home curtailing his honeymoon, was being wrongly implicated in the matter and that he was now available to whoever wants to question him in this regard.

If Musa was not involved in the drug scandal, the question why Brigadier Fahim was stopped from investigating the case drew almost a blank – except a claim implying that the Brigadier had proceeded without following the laid down procedure.

One understood that the Brigadier needed to seek the advice of the law ministry before investigating the case further, and that, in the absence of the Director-General ANF after the transfer of Major General Shakeel Hussain back to his parent institution, the former, under the rules, needed to get his instructions from the secretary, ministry of narcotics control.

It was also established during the briefing that a copy of every quota allocation was sent to the DG ANF, “So why was action not taken immediately when these quotas were being distributed in 2010?” the question begged an answer.

Our correspondent adds

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani seized on Monday an opportunity to prove his son’s innocence in the ongoing ephedrine case, currently being heard in the Supreme Court.

Meant to be a media briefing by the prime minister on national issues, the event turned out to be a stage for Ali Musa Gilani and his legal team to clarify his position in the high-profile case.

Ali Musa, his lawyer, the prime minister and the premier’s special secretary had already interacted with a select group of anchors and journalists just before the briefing.

Ali Musa has been named as the main accused in the ephedrine scandal by the ANF for his alleged role in the drug quota scam. The newly-elected MNA had travelled out of the country last week before his name could be placed on the Exit Control List, but was directed by his father to return home to face the charges against him.

During the briefing, the premier urged Ali Musa to interact with the media personally to clarify his position.

A composed Ali Musa strongly denied the accusations leveled by the ANF, while once again carefully avoiding talking about ANF’s Brigadier Faheem, who had spoken out against him before the court.

He also carefully directed his legal team to refrain from commenting on the Brigadier’s conduct in the Supreme Court.

Ali Musa’s counsel Salman Akram Raja termed the Ephedrine case as based on mere hypothesis. Raja said that he has categorically informed the Supreme Court that he found no solid ground to declare his client as an accused.

Raja said that the former DG health Rasheed Juma named Ali Musa and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Khushnood Lashari to settle a personal score as the prime minister had taken notice of Juma’s misconduct when he ordered the registration of 4,000 medicines immediately after assuming charge as DG health in 2009.

He added that prime minister had ordered not to renew Juma’s contract once it expired in 2010.

While responding to a query, the counsel said that it was standard operating procedure in the health ministry for a director general to be authorised to issue quotas. He added, however, that Juma had issued 9,000 kilogrammes of Ephedrine to his brother Asif Juma, owner of a pharmaceutical lab, in excess of the allowed quota.

(Read: Matters before the court)

Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2012.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Mo!
    Apr 24, 2012 - 1:50AM

    I just hope the judiciary gives Gillanis what they really deserve. :)

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  • Mirza
    Apr 24, 2012 - 2:12AM

    The problem is PM did not give an extension to Juma and the enhanced quota to his brother. Like ISI chief, army chief and SC CJ, Juma should have gotten his extension then there would be no case! The irony is there are always one or two army officials in cases against the elected leaders. They needed to dig out two years case now while forgetting the other 5 companies!

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  • Apr 24, 2012 - 2:55AM

    Ali Musa Gilani’s is chor machai shor!!

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  • Khan sahab
    Apr 24, 2012 - 3:19AM

    Get him to pakistan
    he should be punished for this heinous crime!!!
    Just should be served

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  • Logic Europe
    Apr 24, 2012 - 3:31AM

    if mr juma gave 9000kg of ephedrine to his brother then he has no credibility , This is a typical example of kettle calling the pot black

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  • Apr 24, 2012 - 3:44AM

    Gillani was unable to pay college fee of his son when he was in jail, now his son owns Audi’s hummers, bungalows, factories and goes to foreign countries for honeymoon, Now i understand why do they say Democracy is the best revenge (from nation)

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  • blithe
    Apr 24, 2012 - 5:16AM

    I saw this guy on TV.
    I have to say that he sounds like thief. .

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Apr 24, 2012 - 7:03AM

    @ Pakistani politics, “Democracy is the best revenge” is perhaps you favourite sentence. You have every right to say anything about Gillanis, Shariffs or Khans, but its democracy that you are able to comment on elected members. I am pretty sure that you would never ever dare to say anything about sons of generals who also started their lives very modestly but now own billions. Its not Democracy which is at fault, its hypocracy and cowardice which is root cause of our misery.

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  • Polpot
    Apr 24, 2012 - 7:37AM

    So is Chemical Musa now on ECL? or maybe he will soon depart on another honeymoon…

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  • Apr 24, 2012 - 7:43AM

    This is all drama. We will see new drama serial on private channels this time just like we saw the don starring Mansoor Aijaz and Haqqani the hero.

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  • a&a
    Apr 24, 2012 - 8:19AM

    @Ch Allah Daad:

    even then they are not satisfied with there 80% share of budget . . .???

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  • usman786
    Apr 24, 2012 - 8:26AM

    PM son is totally innocent. He does not know whats happening and give orders to people just in innocence…..pl spare him
    ENough is Enough

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  • Tariq
    Apr 24, 2012 - 9:33AM

    @blithe: He is the son of an in-power politician and an elected politician himself, no wonder he sounds like a thief. By the way, if this is all Multan has to offer in the way of politicians, then i’m afraid the Seraiki province is a really bad idea.

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  • Tahir
    Apr 24, 2012 - 10:03AM

    Mr Prime Minister!
    I want to ask you a simple question. Given your position and stature as Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, why don’t the people of Pakistan trust you?
    In my personal capacity, I really cannot comment whether PM’s son is guilty of the offence or not, But what I can assert with a high degree of certainty is that the General whom the PM so unceremoniously removed from his appointment as DG ANF has been and still regraded as one of the most honest and down-to-earth soul in Pakistan Army. For me, this is an enough evidence that there is some truth to the allegations on PM’s son and that he is ready to go all out to save his son and party’s reputation. I think the present lot has done a lot of good to Bhutto’s name and his legacy already. For this, they all deserve accolade!

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  • Tahir
    Apr 24, 2012 - 10:15AM

    @Ch Allah Daad:
    Please do us all a service and name few of the sons that you have referred above, with evidence!

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  • Beatle
    Apr 24, 2012 - 10:18AM

    @Khan sahab:
    Looks like you are pure “KHAN”. The guy is already in the country since Friday.
    Read the report, again.

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  • Mr. Honest
    Apr 24, 2012 - 10:56AM

    Why was the ANF general removed from his post after he started the investigations into Gilani’s involvement? why?

    When there is fire only then there will be smoke.

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  • Malik Liaquat Hussain
    Apr 24, 2012 - 11:48AM

    As the law of the country is only for poor so looters have the right to do the coutnry what they want. No one will ask them.

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