RAWALPINDI, June 28: Makhdoom Shahabuddin, the federal Minister for Textiles, got temporary relief from the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Thursday after his plea for interim bail in the ephedrine case was accepted by the court. The bail would expire on July 3.
Mr Shahabuddin — a former health minister and the PPP leadership’s first choice for the prime ministerial slot before Raja Pervez Ashraf’s election as prime minister — got a protective transitory bail from the Peshawar High Court on June 22, which expired on Thursday.
Justice Ijaz Ahmed and Justice Ali Baqir Najafi of the LHC granted Mr Shahabuddin the interim bail and fixed July 3 as the next date of hearing in the case.
The court also issued a notice to the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and asked it to file its submission with respect to Mr Shahabuddin.
Talking to reporters before the hearing on Thursday, Mr Shahabuddin said that arrests warrant had been issued against him at a time when he was getting ready to contest the election in National Assembly for the prime ministerial slot, making the entire episode mysterious.
During the hearing, his counsel, Shah Khawar, told the court that to avoid arrest Mr Shahabuddin had to get a pre-arrest protective transitory bail from the Peshawar High Court. He said there was no incriminating material against Mr Shahabuddin and no evidence connecting him to the alleged misuse of ephedrine.
According to Mr Khawar, the ANF prepared a fake case against a well-known politician who was going to become the prime minister, and his arrest warrant was meant to humiliate him and to undermine his reputation.
After hearing the arguments, Justice Ahmed and Justice Najafi granted the minister the interim bail and fixed July 3 as the next date of hearing.