Court issues notice to ANF on Hanfi Abbasi’ appeal

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AMRAIZ KHAN

The Lahore High Court issues notice to Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) on an appeal filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi challenging his conviction in ephedrine case.Acting Chief Justice Malik Shehzad Ahmed was hearing the appeal.

At the outset of the proceedings, Advocate Ahsan Bhoon, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, appeared as counsel for the appellant and submitted that Hanif Abbasi was implicated in the false case on the political grounds. He said Hanif Abbasi was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in the case.

The counsel said that the LHC had suspended implementation over the sentence awarded to his client but his appeal was still pending. Bhoon pointed out that the general elections were approaching and therefore, the appeal was fixed for hearing. He also asked the court to transfer the hearing of the appeal to the principal seat of the high court.

After hearing initial arguments, the acting Chief Justice issued notice to the ANF and sought reply by May 18.

In July, 2018, the Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) court announced its verdict in the ephedrine quota case, handing life imprisonment to Hanif Abbasi. He was contesting elections against Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid from NA-60 (Rawalpindi).

The judge held that Abbasi was found guilty of selling 500kg ephedrine illegally to narcotics smugglers. The court also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on the PML-N leader.

The court, however, acquitted seven other accused in the case while giving them the benefit of doubt.

The ephedrine case took place in March 2011 when the then federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin told the National Assembly that the government would investigate the alleged allocation of 9,000 kilogrammes of ephedrine to two pharmaceutical companies — Berlex Lab International and Danas Pharmaceutical Limited.

According to the rules, a company cannot be allocated more than 500kg of the drug, a limit fixed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) registered a case in June 2012 against nine suspects, including Abbasi.

 

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