Arrest Warrants Issued Against Shahabuddin And Gilani’s Son
Islamabad: An anti-narcotics court here Thursday issued non-bailable arrest warrant against Pakistan’s prime ministerial hopeful Makhdoom Shahabuddin and disqualified premier Yousuf raza Gilani’s son Ali Musa in an illegal drugs quota case.
The warrant was issued after a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry directed the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) to arrest Shahabuddin, named the prime ministerial candidate by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for Friday’s election. The court also directed Ali Musa Gilani to be arrested.
Shahabuddin, in his earlier capacity as health minister, had unauthorisedly approved the manufacturing licence for the drug ephedrine to two pharmaceuticals firms — Berlex Lab International and Danas Pharma — for Rs.7 billion.
The apex court said Ali Musa Gilani was the principal beneficiary in the case.
Geo News said the ANF has collected credible evidence against both Shahabuddin and Gilani.
Dawn News said the case came to light after the two Multan-based companies failed to export asthma drugs to Afghanistan.
The case was registered in October last year after the two companies obtained export quotas for the drug from the health ministry.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) had fixed a quota of 22,000 kg of ephedrine for Pakistan for 2010-11, but the ministry then headed by Shahabuddin allocated around 31,000 kg to the companies. “His (Shahabuddin’s) arrest is a matter of time. He can be taken into custody any time,” an ANF official was quoted as saying by News International.
“He was the man who being the health minister issued quota to Danas Pharma,” the official said.
The ANF had summoned Shahabuddin in May for interrogation and he admitted issuing the quota but pleaded innocence, saying he was unaware of the purpose.
As to why Shahabuddin had not been arrested even after it was established that he had approved the illegal ephedrine quota, Brig. Faheem Ahmed of the ANF told the apex court the bureaucracy was creating hindrances for the ANF to proceed against the suspects in the case.
He said the chief executives of two pharmaceutical companies involved in the case have been arrested.
Shahabuddin earlier told The News International that he had ordered an investigation into the ephedrine scandal without knowing about the alleged involvement of Ali Musa Gilani.
President Asif Ali Zardari formally named Shahabuddin, textile minister in the outgoing Gilani cabinet, as the ruling PPP’s candidate for the post of prime minister, state television PTV reported Thursday.
Shahabuddin is a member of the National Assembly since February 2008 from Punjab province’s Rahim Yar Khan city, and was textiles minister in the government of Yousuf Raza Gilani.
He earlier held the portfolios of federal minister for finance and health. He also served as minister in the regime of then prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.