In a bid to prevent those accused in the ephedrine scandal from leaving the country, the Ministry of Narcotics Control has recommended to the interior ministry to place former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Ali Musa Gilani (son of former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani) along with 17 others on the Exit Control List (ECL).
The narcotics control ministry moved the summary on the recommendations of the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF).
Well-placed sources told the Express Investigation Cell (EIC) that other accused whose names have been listed in the summary include former narcotics control secretary Zafar Abbas Luk, former health director general Dr Rashid Jumma, former health acting director general Dr Asad Hafeez, chief executive of Berlix Lab Multan Rizwan Ahmed Khan, alleged front man of Ali Musa Gilani, Tauqir Ahmed Khan, Director CAN Pharma Multan Hashim Tareen (allegedly involved in making a fake distribution network for Berlex), Director Florence Pharma Islamabad Ehsanur Rehman, Director Florence Pharma Multan Chaudhary Abdul Waheed Majid, Director Danas Pharma Islamabad Col (Retd) Tahir Lahoti and Executive Director Danas Pharma Islamabad Ansar Farooq.
Danas is the second major accused firm which allegedly misused an ephedrine quota for making pep pills. The recommended names also include those of former deputy drug controller Abdul Sattar Sohrani, Syed Tauqir Shirazi, former federal drug controller Shaikh Ansar Ahmed and Director Florence Pharma Islamabad Syed Anjum Shah.
Principal secretary to the former prime minister and key accused in the ephedrine case Khushnood Akhtar Lashari has already left Pakistan, and is currently residing in the UK. After his failure in showing up for investigations, the ANF is now reportedly preparing a case to issue a red warrant and issue his arrest through Interpol.
Lashari allegedly misused his authority as health secretary in 2010 to help Berlex Multan and Danas Pharma Islamabad to glean a 9,000 kilogrammes ephedrine quota on the basis of forged documents for fake exports to Afghanistan and Iraq. This quota was later converted to be applicable to the domestic market.
According to the ANF summary, Berlex and Danas Pharma had close links with former health minister Shahabuddin and Ali Musa, who used their political positions to help the accused firms get the ephedrine drug quota.
Referring to Dr Jumma’s role in the quota allocation, the summary maintains that the former health director general was pressurised by Lashari to issue the massive quota in clear violation of the 1976 Drug Act. The summary added that Luk, as the narcotics control ministry secretary, thwarted justice by blocking investigation into the case.
The ANF summary also noted that since the case is under investigation, the 19 accused in the case must be placed on the ECL to avoid them fleeing from Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2012.