Islamabad: Ali Musa Gilani, Shahabuddin to seek bail from Supreme Court
ISLAMABAD: Despite their strong reservations against the Supreme Court, Textile Industry Minister MakhdoomShahabuddin and former Prime Minister Yusuf RazaGilani’s son Syed Ali Musa are approaching it in a day or so to get bail in the mega ephedrine import quota scandal. The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday rejected their bail applications. Their lawyers have quickly started preparations to seek relief from the apex court, which is already seized with this case and getting periodic report about the investigations being carried out by the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF). During a chat with The News, Special Assistant to Prime Minister FawadChaudhry echoed the government’s aggressive stand against the Supreme Court saying: “Although we have no confidence in it, we are filing bail applications for the federal minister and Ali Musa.” However, he said that after the dismissal of the bail pleas by the LHC Rawalpindi bench, the Supreme Court was the only judicial forum left to the two to get relief otherwise they will be arrested by the ANF.
FawadChaudhry said the situation arising out of the dismissal of the bails was immediately discussed in a meeting with the former prime minister, who wanted prompt submission of fresh applications and following the judicial process to present their point of view, stressing their innocence.
He said it was decided that prominent lawyer Dr Khalid Ranjha would plead the case of Ali Musa. However, when contacted Ranjha said he had not yet been approached.
One of Ali Musa’s lawyers Faisal Chaudhry, who assisted Ranjha, said that the bail application would be filed in a day or so.
The two-judge bench of the LHC comprising Justices KhwajaImtiaz Ahmed and EbadurRehmanLodhi handed down the judgment, reserved on Aug 29, on the bail requests.
FawadChaudhry said not a couple of judges but the entire Supreme Court should take up key cases relating to ephedrine import quota, National Insurance Company Limited, Malik RiazHussain–Dr ArsalanIftikhar controversy, Haj corruption, National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) judgment implementation, Asghar Khan’s petition and Shahbaz Sharif’s disqualification to decide them once and for all.
Meanwhile, the ANF team led by Regional Director Brig Fahim is all set to arrest Shahabuddin and Ali Musa any time after their bail requests were turned down. For the past several weeks, the two have been free because of the protective bails they had got from different courts. However, they have been joining the investigations. But the ANF wants their arrest for a thorough questioning.
The ephedrine case got prominence after Brig Fahim appeared before a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and requested to withdraw it on direction from the then Narcotics Control Division top Zafar Abbas Luk but changed his mind swiftly after he was told that opportunities to say no intense pressure from high-up rarely arise. Since then, he is forcefully busy in investigating the case.
The apex court is monitoring the progress in the probe and getting regular reports from the ANF. At times, it expressed dissatisfaction over the pace of the investigation.
Some time back, the ANF requested the interior ministry to place the names of over a dozen accused of the ephedrine scandal on the Exit Control List (ECL), but it has not been done. It has now approached a court to get this done.
Besides Shahabuddin and Ali Musa, Zafar Abbas Luk, who is now the Inspector General Pakistan Motorway police, former principal secretary to the Prime Minister KhushnoodAkhtarLashari and several others are accused in the high profile case.