A bitter pill: NAB restrained from arresting suspects in substandard interferon case

PHC bench seeks reply for failure to issue weapons licences to lawyers


Fawad Ali November 18, 2015
PHC bench seeks reply for failure to issue weapons licences to lawyers. PHOTO: PPI

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court extended a stay order and restrained the National Accountability Bureau from arresting suspects in a case related to the supply of reportedly substandard hepatitis medicines to government hospitals on Wednesday.

Former director health, project director, director administration, chief executive officer and chief controller of Pharmedics,a pharmaceutical company, filed a writ petition to extend the stay order.

A divisional bench comprising justices Irshad Qaiser and Qalandar Khan Lodhi also exempted the chief executive officer from appearing for one hearing as he was unwell.

The bench ordered the clubbing of a writ petition related to the case.

A panel of defence lawyers appeared before the bench including Arshad Ali, Ghulam Mohiuddin Malik and others. The bench was informed that CEO Iftikhar Ahmad Sheikh and Chief Quality Control Officer Khalid Malik were charged with supplying and using substandard medicines at government hospitals.

The then PHC chief justice Dost Muhammad Khan took suo motu notice of the issue. In light of that notice, NAB started an enquiry which was challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the bench was informed.

Advocate Ali argued that the Supreme Court had ruled that the high court had no jurisdiction to take this suo motu notice. He argued that all FIRs and enquiries were illegal and unlawful.

He contended NAB did not have the authority to issue the call up notices it sent to his clients.

“The provincial government, in 2014, signed a contract with the pharmaceutical company to supply interferon which proved of high standard,” he argued.

He said the bench of the honorable court had already issued a stay order which restrained NAB from arresting the complainants.

He prayed that the bench declare FIRs against his clients as null and void keeping the Supreme Court ruling in mind. After hearing the arguments, the court extended the stay order and restrained NAB from arresting the applicants.

In another case, the bench sought a reply from the provincial government for the failure to issue weapons licences to lawyers of the Bannu Bar Association.

In a writ petition filed by Advocate Ahmadullah, his lawyer Anwarul Haq argued that PHC ordered the government to issue licences of a prohibited bore to lawyers for their security.

He said that court orders to issue the licences were not followed. The bench ordered the provincial government to file a detailed reply for failing to comply with PHC’s direction.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2015.

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