LAHORE: A drugs court in Multan on Monday sentenced a pharmacy owner to four-year imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs100 million for selling unregistered drugs and aphrodisiac.

A team, led by Drugs Inspector Usman Ghani Salmani, conducted a raid at Super Homeo Store at Chowk Ghanta Ghar, Kachehry Road, on Aug 6, 2020 and recovered 10 different types of unregistered and illegal drugs, drugs without warranty, unregistered therapeutic goods and drugs without sale licence used for sexual desire.

The team sealed the store in the presence of its owner Chaudhary Inayatullah under section 18 (1) (h) of Drugs Act 1976 and later registered a case u/s 265-C-II of code of criminal procedure (CrPC)

Advocates Malik Riaz Ahmed and Javaid Iqbal Khan Chandia on behalf of the accused had given final arguments.

They said nothing was brought on record that any medicine was being sold at the time of inspection during the course of evidence.

They said the prosecution could not prove the involvement/ role of the accused before the District Quality Control Board in this case.

They pleaded the court to acquit the accused.

The deputy prosecutor general contended that the pharmacy owner was accused of stocking/ selling unregistered drugs, unwarranted drugs, unregistered therapeutic goods and drugs without licence and he failed to produce any warranty or other documents in his favour.

He said the accused is fully involved in this case, so, in such circumstances when prosecution evidence is consistent and reliable, therefore, calls for maximum sentence.

Drugs court chairman Naveed Rana announced the verdict and convicted Inayatullah to four-year rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs50m for the offence of keeping and selling huge quantities of unregistered drugs.

The court also sentenced him to one-year jail term along with a fine of Rs50m for the offence of keeping and selling drugs without licence and he would have to further serve six-month imprisonment for failing to pay the fine.

Conviction rate in drug cases is low in Pakistan whereas severe punishment is rare.

The drugs courts in Punjab are functioning in Faisalabad, Lahore, Bahawalpur, Rawal-pindi, Multan and Gujranwala.

A June 2015 report (carried by this paper) had shocked a meeting presided over by then Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The report of the convictions by the six drug courts was presented, showing the Multan court had merely imposed meagre fines on offenders.

The report revealed that two members of the Multan drug court, a doctor and a pharmacist, were not attending the proceedings without which no case could be tried under the Drug Act 1976.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2023

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