A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday granted an interim pre-arrest bail to Minister for Textile Industries Makhdoom Shahabuddin, who previously held the portfolio of health minister, in the ephedrine quota case.
Justice Ijaz Ahmed and Justice Baqar Ali Najafi of the Rawalpindi bench of the LHC granted the interim bail to Shahabuddin against a surety bond worth Rs100,000 till July 3.
Giving breathing space to the accused minister for five days, the high court directed the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) to submit a complete investigation report of the case on the next hearing. On July 3, the high court would take up the bail pleas of former director general health Dr Rasheed Jumma who has turned approver in the case and former drug controller Abdul Sattar.
In his plea for bail before arrest, filed through advocate Shah Khawar, the accused minister said the ANF obtained his warrants for arrests a day before elections for new prime minister and stopped him from getting elected as the premier.
The lawyer argued before the court that as health minister, Shahabuddin took notice of a question in the National Assembly in 2010 and took appropriate measures to bring out the facts about the allegations of illegal allocation of huge quotas, first for the export of ephedrine and later converting it for domestic consumption.
After being not nominated in the FIR lodged with ANF the minister was being roped in the case after some health officials under pressure accused him of forcing them to allow the quota, he added.
Advocate Khawar further argued that the ephedrine case did not fall in the domain of Control of Narcotics Substance Act but under the Drugs Act.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.