On July 21, 2018, a Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) court had handed life imprisonment to PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi. Currently he is serving his term in Kot Lakhpat Jail.
The verdict said that Abbasi was found guilty of selling 500kg ephedrine illegally to narcotics smugglers. He was also fined of Rs1 million.
The court had also acquitted seven other accused in the case while giving them the benefit of doubt.
Abbasi was taken into custody by Anti-Narcotics Force from the courtroom soon after the judgement was announced and subsequently shifted to Adiala Jail. The supporters of PML-N leader did try to hinder Abbasi’s arrest and offered some resistance but to no avail.
Owing to the conviction, he could not contest the elections against Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid from NA-60 (Rawalpindi).
The ephedrine case surfaced 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 Hanif Abbasi.
He was charged with the misuse of 500kg of the controlled chemical which he obtained for his company, Gray Pharmaceutical, in 2010. However, instead of using it as medicine, he was accused of selling it on to narcotics smugglers.
On June 11, 2018, Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi of the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench had ordered the judge of the special court that was hearing the case to announce its verdict by July 21 — four days before the July 25 general elections. The trial court was also directed to hear the matter on a daily basis from July 16 onwards.
The SC had rejected a plea filed by Abbasi requesting the apex court to overturn the LHC directives to conclude the trial by July 21.