ISLAMABAD: The approver in the ephedrine case and former DG Health, Juma Khan, has hinted at the possible involvement of former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in the case.
In his four-page statement, Dr Juma claimed that Ali Musa Gilani’s front man was a frequent visitor of the Prime Minister House Islamabad and PM’s Camp Office Lahore. He said that Ali Musa Gilani, former health secretary and principal secretary to the former premier Khushnood Akhtar Lashari and former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin had pressurised him to issue huge quantity of ephedrine to some specific pharmaceutical companies in violation of the law.
One day, Juma Khan recalled, a person by the name of Tauqir Ali Khan visited him in the Health Ministry, introduced himself as the personal secretary to Ali Musa Gilani and sought the allocation of ephedrine quota. He said Tauqir made him (Juma Khan) to talk to Ali Musa Gilani on his mobile phone.
Juma Khan said when he talked to Musa Gilani, the latter introduced himself as the son of the prime minister and also mentioned that he (Dr Juma Khan) had done the surgery of his (Musa Gilani) maternal grandmother several years back. He said the fact mentioned by Musa Gilani about the surgery assured him that the person talking to him was really Ali Musa Gilani and none else.
Musa Gilani, according to Juma Khan’s statement, directed him arrogantly that his man Tauqir Ali Khan must be obliged. He said when he told Musa Gilani that Tauqir expected from him the Berlex Lan International’s ephedrine quota converted from export quota for local sale, Musa commanded: “Do whatever he (Tauqir) says.”
After this incident, he said, Tauqir started visiting the Health Ministry frequently and was treated on priority by the ministry officials. He said that whenever he came to his office (the office of director general health), he would first ensure that the DG health received a phone call from health secretary Khushnood Lashari. Besides getting ephedrine quota, he said, Tauqir also got different benefits for other pharmaceutical companies.
Juma Khan disclosed that sometime Tauqir Ali Khan came to him from the Prime Minister’s House Islamabad while sometimes he used to come to his office from the former prime minister’s Lahore Camp House, thus proving that the front man of Musa Gilani was a frequent visitor of the PM’s official residences in Islamabad and Lahore.
Juma Khan said besides enjoying the backing of Musa Gilani, Tauqir also had the backing of Khushnood Lashari, who was later picked up by Yusuf Raza Gilani as his principal secretary. He said that another person by the name of Anjum Shah was a frequent visitor of Lashari and Makhdoom Shahabuddin’s offices. One day, he stated, he received a phone call from Shahabuddin, who told him that Anjum Shah was complaining the DG health was not issuing conversion order in respect of the ephedrine quota for Danas Pharmaceutical Company.
Following the minister’s call, he said, he talked to his Deputy Drug Controller Sayaad Hussain and directed that while allocating ephedrine quota a condition be added for the verification of the consumption of every 500 kilograms ephedrine. He said that neither Berlex Lab nor Danas Pharma produced the required consumption verification certificates.
Juma Khan admitted that the allocation and conversion of export quota of 2,500 kilograms of ephedrine to Danas Pharmaceutical and 6,000 kilograms to Berlex Lab International was the consequence of pressure from Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Ali Musa Gilani and Khushnood Lashari.
As per policy, he said, these companies were not entitled to the ephedrine quota allocated to them. He said Khushnood Lashari used to mention him (Juma Khan) that he was contract appointee. He added that both Lashari and Musa deliberately used the extension in his contract as a tool to blackmail him.