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Ephedrine case indictment on April 5

March 23, 2013

RAWALPINDI, March 22: The Control of Narcotic Substances Court, in Rawalpindi, has continued hearings on the case regarding the misuse and expropriation of ephedrine, in which former Prime Minister Gilani's son, Ali Musa, has been accused.

An indictment has been scheduled for April 5.

On Friday, CNS Judge Arshad Mehmood Tabassum ordered the prosecution to provide copies of the challan to all the nine defendants.

Along with Ali Musa Gilani and pharmaceutical company executives Ansar Farooq and Iftikhar Ahmed Babar, the accused include former federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Col (rtd) Tahirul Wadood Lahoti, former Director General of Health Asad Hafeez, drug controller Sheikh Ansaar Ahmed and his deputy, Abdul Sattar Sorani, and a man named Abdul Khaliq.

A day earlier, the legal director of the Anti-Narcotics Force, Col (rtd) Akhtar Abbas, told the court that the ANF had arrested Tauqir Ali Khan.

He claimed that Tauqir was an "intermediary" between Ali Musa Gilani, the pharmaceutical executives, and health ministry officials, and had been instrumental in arranging the ephedrine crime.

The ANF's accusation is that, in 2010, Islamabad-based Danas Pharmaceutical Company and Multan-based Berlex Pharmaceutical obtained 9500kg ephedrine, a controlled chemical, from the Ministry of Health.

They obtained the chemical under an export quota to ship it to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Allegedly, the defendants managed to get the stock converted for the local consumption quota, and then smuggled it abroad.

Tauqir Ali Khan has been arrested by the ANF, which has obtained his seven days physical remand from an ANF magistrate.

Noting their "continuous absence," the court has also issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Khushnood Akhtar Lashari, a former principal secretary for Prime Minister Gilani, and for Anjum Shah, supposedly a frontman for Makhdoom Shahabuddin.