Former Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani’s son was indicted by a court today along with 10 others in the ephedrine drug scandal which had rocked the previous Pakistan Peoples Party government in 2011. The case revolves around two Pakistani pharmaceutical companies, Berlex and Danas, that allegedly used political connections to obtain huge amounts of ephedrine and are suspected of diverting it to people in the drug trade who could have used it to make meth worth billions of dollars. The companies have denied any wrongdoing, The Dawn reported.
Ali Musa Gillani and 10 others were indicted by a special anti-narcotics court in the scandal. The accused include former health minister Makhdum Shahabuddin, health ministry official Abdul Sattar and Abdul Khaliq.
Despite those accused maintaining their innocence, the judge formally charged the high-profile suspects of culpability in the ephedrine scandal. Ex-chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had pointed out in early 2012 that Ali Musa was also a suspect in the case.
The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) then issued a notice to Musa Gillani and one of his alleged ‘front men’ for manipulating the unauthorised allocation. In June of the same year, just as President Asif Ali Zardari nominated Makhdoom Shahabuddin as the PPP candidate for the prime minister after Yousaf Raza Gillani was removed by a court order, the ANF issued arrest warrants in his name. Consequently, Makhdoom Shahab could no longer be PPP’s prime ministerial candidate.
The hearing was preceded by a hearing on April 10, during which judge Irum Niazi expressed her intention to summon the accused to court if they refused to appear, the daily reported. The next hearing has been scheduled for May 12, in which the accused are expected to present their arguments.
Ephedrine, along with pseudoephedrine, is one of the main ingredients in methamphetamine, a scheduled narcotic substance.