Shahabuddin asks for pre-arrest bail in ephedrine case

By Mudassir Raja

Textile Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday, asking for pre-arrest bail in the case concerning the illegal allotment of ephedrine quota while he was health minister.

LHC’s Rawalpindi bench will take up the bail plea on Thursday.

Shahabuddin termed the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) proceedings against him mala fide and said that the investigators involved him in the case to obstruct his bid for premiership.

“Warrants for my arrest were procured by the ANF one day prior to the election of the new prime minister in connivance with some unseen forces,” the federal minister maintained through his lawyer Shah Khawar. Ealier, on June 22, Shahabuddin obtained protective bail from the Peshawar High Court for seven days.

The minister also said that he was not nominated in the FIR.

According to the contents of the FIR, Shahabuddin, who was then a health minister, had replied to a notice on the National Assembly floor and had assured lawmakers that the two companies allegedly involved in procuring permission of the illegal export of ephedrine were to be dealt with in accordance with law, the application said.

Shahabuddin said he had nothing to do with the allocation of the import quota or its quantity, which is the domain of the health ministry’s director general.

The minister argued that he was not an exporter, importer, transporter, in possession of the alleged substance or involved in any nexus with the commission of alleged offence, yet provisions of the Narcotics Substance Control Act were being levelled against him.

He said the case currently being investigated by ANF does not fall under narcotics laws. Even if there were to be such a case, it would fall under the Drugs Act, the minister argued. He accused the ANF of widening the scope of the investigation “to show its efficiency.”

Shahabuddin said he had been cooperating with
the investigators and had proved his innocence but the prosecution is using pressure tactics and preparing others accused in the case to testify against him.

The Express Tribune