The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday rejected the bail pleas of Ali Musa Gilani, the son of former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, and Textile Industries Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, due to their absence during hearing.

The judicial bench comprising Justice Khwaja Imtiaz Ahmed and Justice Ebadur Rehman Lodhi inquired from the lawyers of Musa Gilani and Shahabuddin about the absence of their clients. The lawyers informed the bench that their clients were unaware that the court was scheduled to hear their bail pleas.

The court expressed dissatisfaction and told the lawyers that it was their duty to inform them and rejected their petitions.

Ali Musa and Shahabuddin are accused of pressuring officials of the Health Ministry in 2010 to allocate huge quotas of controlled chemical ephedrine to two different pharmaceutical companies.

Arguing for the bail pleas, the lawyers of Musa Gilani and Shahabuddin had said ephedrine was not included in the list of narcotics and the case could not be investigated by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and that the ANF had no other evidence other than the statements of the two approvers, which were given under duress.

Earlier on August 29, the bench had reserved judgement on the petition.

The ANF can now arrest both accused under the procedures of the law.

The lawyers of Ali Musa told the media after hearing they would approach the Supreme Court against the decision of the LHC in the ephedrine case.