Ephedrine scandal: Arrest warrant issued for PPP’s PM candidate

Published: June 22, 2012
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ANF DG Maj Gen
Malik Zaffar Iqbal
said the issuance
of the warrant
had no connection
with Shahabuddin’s
nomination. PHOTO: REUTERS

ANF DG Maj Gen Malik Zaffar Iqbal said the issuance of the warrant had no connection with Shahabuddin’s nomination. PHOTO: REUTERS

RAWALPINDI: 

Premiership in Pakistan, it seems, is a curse these days. Days after a sitting prime minister was dismissed by the apex court, the would-be prime minister has been made a wanted man.

An Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) court on Thursday issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of both Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Ali Musa Gilani, the former prime minister’s son, in connection with the ephedrine case. The warrants came hours after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nominated Shahabuddin as a candidate for prime minister. ANF Magistrate Shafqatullah Khan allowed an application from ANF Deputy Director Abid Zulfiqar, who, along with ANF prosecutor Touqeer Satti, had asked for arrest warrants for both the accused.  Both officials maintain in their application that Shahabuddin failed to appear before investigators despite being summoned on June 18 and 19.

The two officials maintain ANF has ample evidence against Shahabuddin, who, while serving as the federal minister for health, sent his agent Anjum Shah to then director general (DG) Health Dr Rasheed Jumma for the allocation of a 2,500kg ephedrine quota to Danas Pharmaceutical Islamabad. This information was contained in their written submission to the court.

According to their application, Shahabuddin later pressurised Dr Jumma to convert the ephedrine export quota for domestic consumption. His agent Anjum personally delivered the conversion orders to the owner of Danas Pharmaceutical, Ansar Farooq, and his partner Tahirul Wadood Lahoti.

The officials further say that Ansar Farooq allegedly paid up to Rs6 million to then health minister Shahabuddin for obtaining the quota.

During the hearing at the magistrate’s court, ANF Commander Brigadier Faheem and Investigating Officer (IO) Abid Zulfiqar also presented a report stating they had evidence and witness testimonies proving the direct involvement of both Shahabuddin and Ali Musa Gilani in providing the illegal quota of ephedrine.

Forwarding a request to be an immunity-granted witness, former DG Health Dr Rasheed Jumma verified in his statement to the investigation team that it was Shahabuddin who approved the 6,000kg ephedrine quota allotment to Berlex Lab International and 2,500kg to Danas Pharmaceutical. He added that Ali Musa Gilani pressed for the allotment of the quota as well.

In their request for warrants against Ali Musa, son of disqualified premier Yousaf Raza Gilani and a National Assembly member (MNA) from Multan, the ANF contended that he used his influence as the son of a sitting prime minister to have 500kg of ephedrine, intended for export to Iraq, sanctioned for Berlex Lab International. He later had the quota converted for local consumption and increased its quantity up to 6,000kg, the ANF said. The officials also accused Ali Musa of assisting the smuggling of ephedrine.

Speaking to the media, ANF DG Major General Malik Zaffar Iqbal maintained the issuance of warrants was a coincidence and had no connection with Shahabuddin’s nomination as a candidate for premiership. Responding to a question, he said the process to put all the accused names, including Shahabuddin and Ali Musa, on the Exit Control List (ECL) had been initiated. Iqbal further said that the Supreme Court had direct ANF to complete its investigations in the ephedrine case by the end of this month.

(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM NEWS DESK)

Published In The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • a&a
    Jun 22, 2012 - 4:56AM

    What a coincidence, all guns towards PPP….!!!!

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  • Mirza
    Jun 22, 2012 - 5:36AM

    Making save havens for OBL and keeping him in an army base is fine, nobody is responsible for that. Importing an allergy drug more than the quota is a non-bailable crime? Not a single terrorist has been issued non-bailable warrants but this is worse than terrorism and high treason. In Pakistan one has to commit major crimes of killing elected PM, hosting the worst terrorist in the world, surrendering half of the country and committing multiple acts of high treason are fine and never punished.

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  • RizwanTKhan
    Jun 22, 2012 - 10:28AM

    @a&a:
    Seems like either you are pretty ignorant or a PPP jiala who does not want to see the reality.

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  • Irtiza
    Jun 22, 2012 - 11:54AM

    @RizwanTKhan:
    and it seems that you are from those who support the ‘left overs’ of zia regime.

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  • a&a
    Jun 22, 2012 - 12:52PM

    @RizwanTKhan:
    Neither ignorant nor a well wisher for PPP, but never seen such a biased judiciary in the history of Pakistan

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  • Allah Ditta Pakistani
    Jun 22, 2012 - 4:10PM

    @ a&a , @ Iritza,

    You are right pakistani’s are born and grew under martial law regimes and do not know the beauty of democracy , not beauty and the beast – democracy with no electricity in the country no shame on disrespecting judicial system and living on the politics of graves.

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  • Hashim
    Jun 22, 2012 - 8:11PM

    True, the Supreme Court sent the prime minister packing because he ‘committed’ contempt of court. What about the contempt of those more than two million litigants who are ever condemned to suffer financial and physical hardships, mental and emotional agonies and the decades-long strivings to retrieve their civil, property or commercial rights, thanks to a judiciary that lacks good governance, delivery and integrity. The situation is even more pathetic in the lower courts where the original jurisdiction of much of the civil and criminal litigation lies.

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