ISLAMABAD: Another top official of the government, Interior Secretary Khawaja Saddiq Akbar, was put on notice by the Supreme Court on Wednesday for his alleged interference in the Ephedrine quota scam investigation.
Former deputy director general of health Muhammad Tanveer, now an official of the national regulations and services ministry, informed the court that the Prime Minister Secretariat turned against him due to his dissenting note on the allocation of the Ephedrine quota in 2010 to Multan-based pharmaceutical companies.
He said he had recorded his statement before the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and a magistrate on merit.
Responding to the chief justice’s query, Tanveer told the court that the personal staff officer of the interior ministry made him hostage and forced his signature on some written papers. The official said that Interior Secretary Akbar summoned him to his office and asked him to exonerate former health secretary Khushnood Lashari in his statement during the ANF’s investigation of the scam and even threatened him in case he failed to do so.
In its written order the court observed, “We considered that for such reasons he was made officer of special duty (OSD) on May 15 and thereto he was transferred to Gilgit-Baltistan on June 27 and his salary was stopped when he refused to go G-B.”
The court, however, asked Tanveer to continue as the Deputy Director General in his parent ministry.
The court also questioned the process in which the official was transferred to G-B without fulfilling legal requirements. “How you can transfer an official to a province without creating a vacancy first?” the court asked the federation’s attorney.
Tanveer also told the court that inquiries were initiated against him on the basis of fake complaints but he was subsequently cleared. The chief justice asked the legal director of the Federal Investigation Agency if action was being taken against the fake complainants – namely Muhammad Tahir and Abdul Rasheed Chaudhry.
The court also issued notice to the national regulations and services secretary and ANF Director Brigadier Faheem, who is investigating the scam, following Tanveer’s complaint that federal minister Firdous Ashiq Awan was also harassing him. Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son Musa Gilani and federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin are also being interrogated in the scam for their alleged influence-peddling to allocate the quota to selected companies.
Meanwhile, on the petition of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Company, the court asked the ANF to investigate the issue independently and not harass anyone unnecessarily.
Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood appeared before the court and said that the ANF was harassing around 18 companies on the basis of a list provided by politician Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad to suppress his rivals.
Brig Faheem told the court that there was no political victimisation as the names of the 18 companies were already part of ANF’s record.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2012.