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Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The military-led Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) moved the Supreme Court on Saturday, challenging Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s decision to remove its chief Maj-Gen Shakeel Hussain.

The document attached with the ANF’s application reveals that removal on April 6 of Maj-Gen Hussain followed a dramatic action by the force on April 4 when it summoned the prime minister’s principal secretary, Khushnood Lashari, in the probe against the premier’s son, Musa Gilani.

The ANF took the drastic step even after it had been divested of all powers of investigations through a notification on March 21, 2012.

The ANF had been probing illegal import of ephedrine — a controlled substance — and during a hearing before the Supreme Court last month it had revealed that Musa Gilani was also being investigated before the government forced the investigators to withdraw the case. The apex court has summoned detailed record for a hearing scheduled for April 20.

The application accused the principal secretary to the prime minister of trying to influence investigations against Musa Gilani.

The application filed before the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry by Commander of Anti-Narcotics Force, Rawalpindi, stated: “The notification dated 6th April whereby DG, ANF Major General Syed Shakeel Hussain has been repatriated to the Army and notification of same date whereby Zafar Abbas, Secretary Narcotics Control Division has been given additional charge of DG, ANF be withdrawn immediately and ANF’s powers be restored, so that the orders of this apex court be implemented in letter and spirit.

“That further secretary, ministry of narcotics control, and principal secretary to the prime minister be restrained from interfering in the investigation or prosecution of the matter by Anti-Narcotics Force and from causing any hindrance in the same or from seeking their permission prior to taking any action by the ANF.”

The application has been filed through senior Supreme Court lawyer Akram Sheikh.

When asked to comment on the ANF’s move, Law Secretary Irfan Qadir said all government departments were expected to respect the decisions of the prime minister and that there should not be any defiance of his orders.

“This amounts to insubordination and indiscipline,” he said, adding that he needed to read the application before commenting any further. He, however, said that all organs of the state, including the superior judiciary, should respect the Constitution.

The application is accompanied by statements of witnesses (health officials), including Dr Rashid Juma, Asad Hafeez and Abdussattar Mehrani. Some of them have said that Musa Gilani remained in touch with them on telephone to ensure the illegal import of the controlled substance.

The application also revealed that the ANF has already requested the interior ministry to place the names of all accused persons on the exit control list.