On January 4, 1966, Hanif Abbasi was born in Rawalpindi to Muhammad Khalil Abbasi. He studied in the Muslim League High School in Lahore and went on to attend the FC College and the University of the Punjab. He started his career as a cricketer in Rawalpindi in 1986.
As a member of the right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Abbasi defeated Sheikh Rashid Shafiq in the 2002 by-elections for the NA-56 (Rawalpindi VII) constituency.
In 2008, Abbasi joined the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and again defeated Sheikh Rasheed, uncle of Sheikh Rashid Shafiq in the general election.
In the 2018 polls, Abbasi accumulated 73,433 votes; his nearest opponent, Shaukat Hayyat Khan of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) took 22,720, while Sh Rasheed garnered 10,964 votes.
Abbasi was the PML-N’s candidate representing NA-56 in the 2013 general elections. He contested against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in 2013. Imran Khan defeated Hanif Abbasi with the difference of 13356 votes in the 2013 pols.
On November 2, 2016, PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi filed a petition for Imran Khan’s disqualification in the Supreme Court, accusing him of money-laundering, concealing assets and receiving funds from foreign sources for PTI.
After two years, the top court rejected Abbasi’s petition for Imran’s disqualification. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar declared that the money trail provided by Imran sufficiently covered the Bani Gala property’s purchase price.
Mocked by his political rivals as ‘Ephedrine Abbasi’, he owns a pharmaceutical business, Gray Pharmaceutical, and was alleged of smuggling drugs and using public office to commit corrupt practices.
In July 2012, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) filed a case against him in the Lahore High Court alleging that Abbasi and several colleagues misused 500 kilograms of ephedrine. According to the rules, a company cannot be allocated more than 500kg of the drug, a limit fixed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
The ANF filed a first information report (FIR) claiming that Abbasi’s company acquired far more than the legal limit of ephedrine. He was charged with the of misuse of 500kg of the controlled chemical which he obtained for his company in 2010. However, instead of using it as medicine, he was accused of selling it on to narcotics smugglers. Abbasi and two others were freed on bail. Abbasi has denied the charge, calling it “blatant political victimisation”.
The apex court had dismissed Hanif Abbasi’s petition against a high court order directing to conclude the ephedrine case against him by July 21, 2018.
On July 21, 2018, in a verdict that was delayed for more than 10 hours after being reserved, a Rawalpindi court hearing the ephedrine quota case against PML-N’s Abbasi, and others, sentenced him to life imprisonment while seven other accused in the case were acquitted.
The PML-N leader will not be able to contest the 2018 general elections from NA-60 Rawalpindi constituency following the narcotics court’s decision. He was to face Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on July 25.