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- Friday, March 30, 2012 - From Print Edition


ISLAMABAD: Following in the footsteps of his brother Abdul Qadir Gilani, who is allegedly involved in mega scandals like National Insurance Company Limited and Hajj Scam, Musa Gilani, the other son of Prime Minister of Pakistan has also been accused of minting Rs7 billion in illegal import of banned chemicals.


But sources say a top bureaucrat has been assigned by the Chaudhrys of Gujrat to protect Musa Gilani, apparently because they feel indebted to the prime minister for saving Moonis Elahi, the son of Ch Pervaiz Elahi. Quarters close to the Chaudhrys, however, rejected the charge, saying they were not influencing any bureaucrat to help the PMís son.


Well-placed sources in Narcotics Division told The News that Pakistan annually needs 10,000 kgs of ‘ephedrine’, a banned chemical used in manufacturing of various medicines including ‘ecstasy’ but if refined can make cocaine. In 2010 apart from the normal import of 10,000 kgs of ephedrine, the Ministry of Health dubiously allowed two firms to import 9,000 kgs of ephedrine without scrutinizing the pharmaceutical companies and the purpose for which it would have been used.


The sources said that the issue was highlighted in the National Assembly when Makhdoom Shahabuddin was Health Minister and an inquiry was held by the then Joint Secretary Ministry of Health, Mohsin Haqqani that clearly indicted the Multan firm.


To the bad luck of prime minster when he was busy saving the scion of Chaudhrys of Gujrat in NICL scandal, and removed the then Secretary Establishment Sohail Ahmed, an officer of honest repute, and Supreme Court directed the PM to give a posting to Sohail so, the officer was appointed as Secretary Narcotics Control Division.


Sources in Anti Narcotics Force told this correspondent that the first briefing which they gave to Sohail Ahmed was regarding the “ephedrine” scandal amounting over Rs7 billion and allegedly involving the son of Prime Minister. The sources said that Barlux Lab International Multan and Danas Pharmaceutical Company were given the quota of 6,500 kg and 2,500 kg of ephedrine respectively by the then Director General Health, Dr Rasheed Jumma.


The sources said that a key figure of Ministry of Health was real brother of the owner of Danas Pharmaceutical Company so when Prime Minister’s son Musa Gilani allegedly got approved the quota of 6,500 kg of ephedrine for the so-called Multan firm then that key figure also influenced the Health Ministry officials to get 2,500 kgs for his real brother.


Pakistan has signed international conventions therefore whatever is its need, it intimates the International Drug Control Authority and then gets the quota to import ephedrine, but in the case at hand, neither any intimation was raised nor anyone was forewarned about such an illegal act and ephedrine was imported, twice the amount needed in the country, the sources added.


First both the companies told the Ministry of Health that they had the license to export ephedrine to Afghanistan and other countries and later sought the permission to use it locally, which was given without taking any safety measures.


“Sohail Ahmed, former Secretary Narcotics Division, gave the written orders to ANF to lodge FIR against the culprits therefore in October 2011, an FIR no 40, under section 9c, 14, 15 and 16 of Narcotics Act was lodged”, the sources said.


The sources said that when this quota was dubiously allotted to two firms, the Secretary Health was Khushnood Akhtar Lashari, now the Principal Secretary to the PM. Sources in Lashariís office rejected the allegation that he was involved in the scandal.


While there was time to take action, the Secretary Health was Nargis Sethi, another close aide of PM. Therefore no action was initiated against the culprits till Sohail Ahmed was posted as Secretary Narcotics Control.


The sources said that the former DG Health who gave away this illegal quota to PM’s son had written a letter to Secretary Narcotics Control Sohail Ahmed alleging that the then secretary health was also in the know and all was done as per his wishes.


The sources said that the incumbent secretary Narcotics Division is the relative of Chaudhrys of Gujrat therefore he has taken an adverse stance to the ANF people so that the case may becomes too weak to be trailed.


The ANF people say that the distributor which the Multan based company referred to, does not exist therefore no record could be traced to show where has 9,000 kgs of ephedrine been used. They say if properly refined, ephedrine can be used in making cocaine.


Dr Rasheed Jumma, former DG Health who is on interim bail in the Rs7 billion scandal, while talking to The News said that the Ministry of Narcotics was pleading the case and it has been established that nothing has been done against rules and laws.


When asked if nothing has been done wrong then why was he on interim bail, Dr Juma replied the Narcotics Control Division could tell better about this.


When asked, did he allot the quota to PM’s son’s front man, he replied, there is not only DG Health in Health Ministry, the Secretary and Chief Drug Controller are also there so why only DG Health is being inquired.


While Dr Saadia of Pakistan Pharma Bureau, when contacted said that the multinationals apply for the quota of ephedrine based on the need and the report of last three years that where it has been used. She said that a long procedure is followed to get the quota including heavy documentation. She also confirmed that ephedrine is used in making drugs like “ecstasy” and if refined can make cocaine too.