Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani's son, Ali Musa Gilani.—Photo courtesy of the National Assembly website (www.na.gov.pk).

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court, during a hearing of the ephedrine quota case on Friday, suspended all transfers ordered by the Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Narcotics Control Zafar Abbas Lak, DawnNews reported.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, resumed the hearing of the case that allegedly involves the prime minister’s younger son, Ali Musa Gilani.

The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) on Thursday had submitted a report before the court formally naming eight accused, including Prime Minister’s Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s son, for their alleged involvement in the scam.

However, Ali Musa Gilani failed to return to Pakistan to appear before the bench.

During proceedings, Zafar Abbas Lak had informed the court that military officers of the ANF were not obeying the government’s orders, and that their actions were of a “mutinous” nature.

The apex court adjourned the hearing, saying that further proceedings on the case would be held in three weeks’ time.

Earlier today, Fawad Chaudhry, the counsel for Musa Gilani, said his client would not be able to appear for the Supreme Court hearing.

Speaking to DawnNews, Chaudhry said an application for the pre-arrest bail of Musa Gilani would be filed in the apex court. However, Chaudhry was reluctant to specify a date or time for the application’s submission.

Sources told DawnNews that Musa Gilani was delaying his return in light of his nomination as an accused in the case which may have led to his arrest.

Moreover, sources said that Musa Gilani would return only after he is granted pre-arrest bail by the court.

The Supreme Court had earlier issued a notice to Musa Gilani and had directed him to appear before it, as part of the ongoing investigations regarding the import of controlled substance ‘ephedrine’ and the subsequent attempts to hush up an inquiry into the matter. The PM’s son, who had flown to South Africa before the issuance of the notices, has claimed of being wrongly implicated in the case.

ANF report names PM’s son as suspect

The 23-page report submitted by the ANF’s Regional Director Brig Fahim Ahmad Khan names Ali Musa Gilani, former director general health Dr Asad Hafeez, Deputy Drug Controller Abdul Sattar Shorani, former health secretary Khushnood Akhtar Lashari, MNA Mian Abdul Sattar, Drug Controller Sheikh Ansar, Anjum Shah, a resident of Nawabshah and friend of Mian Abdul Sattar, and Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Narcotics Control Zafar Abbas Lak.

According to a summary of the ANF report published in the Dawn newspaper, The accused allegedly allocated 6,500kg and 2,500kg of ephedrine to Berlex Lab International, Multan, and Danas Pharma (Pvt) Ltd, Islamabad, respectively, in 2010-11 for export to Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, 20 other companies were waiting for allocation of a 5,710kg quota.

According to the ANF report, the accused managed to convert the allotment of drugs intended for export into local use with the help of health ministry staff and under alleged political pressure from Ali Musa Gilani and Mian Abdul Sattar.

The allocation amounts were in violation of a UN convention that set the export quota for Iraq at 3,000kg and Afghanistan at 50kg.

In 2010, total ephedrine allocation was raised to 31,534kg against an annual ceiling authorised by the International Narcotics Control Board for Pakistan at 22,000kg. Over the last four years, average allocation of ephedrine was 13,544kg per annum, according to the ANF report.

Berlex and Danas’ management claimed to have manufactured 218 million and 85 million tablets, respectively, from ephedrine, said the report, adding that neither company could present evidence to support the claim. Lower staff, employees and suppliers of raw material did not support the stance of the companies.

The report said that all pharmacists and medical stores in Kohistan, Northern Areas and of the Punjab drug control authorities that supplied Danas Pharma medicines have denied any receipt or supply of tablets at their end. Danas Pharma claims to have transported the tablets to the Northern Areas and Kohistan through Kohistan Deer Goods Transport Company, but the latter’s office in I-11/4, Islamabad, appears to be a fruit and vegetable shop. Similarly, all label printers, chemical and bottle suppliers also denied any supply.

The companies’ claims that extra tablets were produced were further negated by their electricity bills. The companies do not seem to have used extra electricity during the relevant months, said the report.

Berlex’s distribution companies – Florence Pharma Shop and Can Pharma – neither exist on the ground in Multan nor are they registered in any government department. Non-production of proper sale records before the investigating officer clearly shows illicit use of the controlled substance.

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