Ephedrine scandal: Former DG health suffers heart attack during interrogation

Published: June 14, 2012
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The case regarding the sale of ephedrine was registered on October 10. PHOTO: FILE

The case regarding the sale of ephedrine was registered on October 10. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Former director-general health Asad Hafeez, a key official at the centre of the ephedrine scandal involving Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son, suffered a heart attack during interrogation by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).

Hafeez is also suffering from severe back pain, as one of his vertebrae is dislocated, sources said.

According to sources at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) Rawalpindi, Hafeez is currently admitted in the coronary care unit (CCU) and no one is allowed to visit him.

He was arrested by the ANF on Friday on charges of illegally allotting the quota of ephedrine, which was meant for export, for local sale.

When contacted, ANF spokesperson Agha Sabahul Hassan expressed complete ignorance about the issue and asked to contact officials linked with the case.

However, Col Tauqeer and Major Qaiser were unavailable for comments.

Meanwhile, The Express Tribune tried to contact Hafeez’s family but they were reluctant to talk to the media.

Sources working closely with the former health minister said it was very unfortunate that the real culprit of the ephedrine scandal was at large, while officials who were not involved are facing trouble.

The case regarding the illegal sale of ephedrine was registered on October 10, 2011, after two pharmaceutical companies, namely Danas Pharmaceutical Limited and Berlex Lab International, were accused of obtaining export quotas for the drug, in collusion with health ministry officials, which exceeded the limits fixed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

The INCB had fixed an annual quota of 22,000 kilogrammes of ephedrine for Pakistan for 2010-11, but the health ministry, following its devolution, allocated a quota of around 31,000kg of the drug.

Later, ANF’s investigation had allegedly established a direct link between the prime minister’s son, Ali Musa Gilani, and the multi-billion rupee drug scandal.

Published In The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2012. 

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