A special Anti-Narcotics Court on Friday indicted Ali Musa Gilani, son of a former prime minister, and 10 others in the ephedrine case which rocked the Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition government in 2011.
The long-running case involves two pharmaceutical companies, Berlex and Danas, that allegedly used political connections to obtain huge amounts of ephedrine and are suspected of diverting it to people in the drug trade who could have used it to make methamphetamine worth billions of dollars. The companies have denied any wrongdoing. Along with Ali Gilani, the accused include former health minister Makhdum Shahabuddin, Health Ministry official Abdul Sattar and Dr Abdul Khaliq.
Despite those accused maintaining their innocence, the judge formally charged the high-profile suspects of culpability in the ephedrine scandal. Former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had pointed out in early 2012 that Ali Gilani was also a suspect in the case. The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) then issued a notice to him and one of his alleged ‘front men’ for manipulating the unauthorised allocation.
Today’s hearing was preceded by a hearing on April 10, during which the judge expressed her intention to summon the accused to court if they refused to appear. The next hearing has been scheduled for May 12, in which the accused are expected to present their arguments.