Arrest warrants issued against Shahabuddin, Gilani's son
Islamabad, June 21 (IANS) An anti-narcotics court in Pakistan Thursday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Makhdoom Shahabuddin, the prime ministerial candidate of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Ali Musa Gilani, son of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, in an illegal drugs quota case.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had directed the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) to arrest Shahabuddin, who in his earlier capacity as health minister had unauthorisedly approved the issuing of manufacturing licence for the drug ephedrine to a pharmaceuticals firm called Danas Pharma.
The apex court said Ali Musa Gilani was the principal beneficiary in the case.
Geo News said the ANF has collected credible evidence against Shahabuddin and Gilani.
"His (Shahabuddin's) arrest is a matter of time. He can be taken into custody any time," an ANF official was quoted as saying by News International.
"He was the man who being the health minister issued quota to Danas Pharma," the official said.
The ANF had summoned Shahabuddin in May for interrogation and he admitted issuing the quota but pleaded innocence, saying he was unaware of the purpose.
As to why Shahabuddin had not been arrested even after it was established that he had approved the illegal ephedrine quota, Brig. Faheem Ahmed of the ANF told the apex court the bureaucracy was creating hindrances for the ANF to proceed against the suspects in the case.
He said the chief executives of two pharmaceutical companies involved in the case had been arrested.
Shahabuddin earlier told The News International that he had ordered an investigation into the ephedrine scandal without knowing about the alleged involvement of Ali Musa Gilani.
President Asif Ali Zardari formally named former textiles minister Shahabuddin as the candidate of the PPP for the post of prime minister, state television PTV reported Thursday.
Shahabuddin is a member of the National Assembly since February 2008 from Punjab province's Rahim Yar Khan city, and was textiles minister in the government of Yousuf Raza Gilani.
He earlier held the portfolios of federal minister for finance and health. He also served as minister in the regime of then prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
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