ISLAMABAD: As media hype surrounding his son’s alleged involvement in a drug scandal gains momentum, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani took his Cabinet colleagues into confidence against what he termed “a malicious campaign” against Ali Musa Gilani.
The cabinet is said to have expressed solidarity with the prime minister on the issue.
The premier, at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, said that inquiries conducted by various departments and ministries made no mention of influence exercised by Ali Musa in their findings.
An official statement issued by Prime Minister’s House said that an inquiry committee was set up under the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, and included the federal drug inspector, the deputy director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the chairman quality control Islamabad. The committee did not find any evidence of Ali Musa’s involvement.
The chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Interior constituted another committee to ascertain the substance used by pharmaceutical companies in the country and the second committee arrived at the same conclusion, with no mention of Ali Musa, the press release said.
A joint investigation committee constituted by former health minister was tasked to establish the violation of the procedure in granting quota to the recipients and that team, too, found no evidence of Ali Musa’s involvement in the case, the press release added.
Ephedrine, the drug in question, is to be dealt with under the Drug Act 1976 and not under Control of Narcotics Substance Act 1977 because it is a “locally-manufactured, controlled chemical, distributed yearly by the Ministry of Health under Drug Act 1976,” the statement said.
There is no evidence that ephedrine is converted to manufacture ecstasy or cocaine in Pakistan, it stated, adding that the local price of the drug is about Rs7,000 per kg and the “figure of billions of rupees is a conscious effort to mislead the people.”
The premier also recalled that his elder son, Abdul Qadir Gilani, was also incriminated in the Hajj scandal earlier – and later the Chief Justice of Pakistan directed the authorities to register a case against the MNA who leveled allegations on Abdul Qadir merely on the basis of hearsay, he said.
Briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the federal Cabinet expressed solidarity with the prime minister over the issue.
Cabinet members expressed “grave concern” over the “character assassination” of the premier’s family members, she added.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Cabinet reviewed its performance and granted approval to several decisions.
The Cabinet secretary briefed lawmakers about the Citizens Damage Compensation Programme underway in the areas affected by the 2010 floods.
So far, 1.7 million families have been paid through Watan Cards, the secretary said.
Meanwhile the finance secretary briefed the Cabinet on the consumer price index, saying that prices of 28 items have increased during the last week.
The Cabinet granted its approval for initiating negotiations on draft agreements with China, Oman and Kyrgyzstan on cooperation in combating illicit traffic of narcotics drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.
The Cabinet also reviewed the implementation status of its decisions pertaining to Religious Affairs, Revenue and Science & Technology Research Divisions. The body was informed that 87%, 79% and 78% of decisions pertaining to the three divisions respectively have been implemented.
The Cabinet also prayed for the early recovery of the Army personnel and civilians trapped under snow in Siachen.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.