ISLAMABAD - The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) force commander on Saturday through an application informed the Supreme Court that the government had issued a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) to render the ANF, which is investigating the ‘Ephedrine scam’ that implicated Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son Ali Musa Gilani, dysfunctional and powerless through substituting the ANF DG (Director General) with the Narcotics Control secretary.

He prayed the court to ensure restoration of the ANF’s powers for implementing the court orders in letter and spirit.

The petitioner stated that the SRO seemed to have been passed in haste and without consulting the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry as mandated by Rule 14 of the Rules of Business 1973.

It is worth mentioning that the rules were flouted in allocation of Ephedrine ingredient quota, as 9,000 kilograms (instead of 1000 kilograms) were imported by Berlex Labs International and Danas Pharmaceutical Limited, the alleged favourites of the premier’s son, Ali Musa Gilani.

The chemical is also used in production of psychotropic drugs, which was allegedly sold to smugglers to stuff their pockets with a windfall profit.

A committee was constituted by the then Federal Health Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin in 2009 to probe into the matter, which recommended initiating investigation by ANF against Dr Rashid Jumma, Iftikhar Ahmed Babar, Rizwan Ahmed Khan, Ihsan-ur-Rehman, Tanvirul Hassan Shirazi, Chaudhry Abdul Waheed, Ansir Farooq Chaudhry, Col (r) Tahir Alwadood Lahoti, Muhammad Hashim Khan and Tauqeer Ali Khan.

During the last hearing of the case, ANF Force Commander Brigadier Fahim informed the Supreme Court that following the investigation, Tauqeer Ahmed Khan’s name surfaced as personal secretary of Ali Musa Gilani, who got approval of the quota against rules and regulations.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, while hearing the case on March 29 rejected the request of ANF counsel to withdraw the case - ‘Regional Director ANF versus Rizwan Ahmed Khan and others’ -and sought a detailed record from Anti-Narcotics Force.

The ANF Force Commander Rawalpindi, in pursuance of the court order, filed a civil miscellaneous application (CMA), saying the Ministry of Narcotics Control has delegated all powers under the Control of Narcotics Substances Act (CNSA) 1997 to the Narcotics Control secretary.

The applicant prayed the court to restore the powers of ANF and declare the SRO No 282(I)/2012 dated 21st March 2012, being a manifest obstruction to justice and respectful obedience and compliance of this apex court’s order, ultra vires, as it was tantamount to interfering in the March 29 orders of the court.

He further said the April 6 notification, whereby ANF DG Maj-Gen Syed Shakeel Hussain has been repatriated to the Army and another one of same date, through which Narcotics Control Division Secretary Zafar Abbas has been given additional charge of the Anti-Narcotics Force chief, be withdrawn.

He stated the repatriation order was issued inter alia in the background that on April 4, the Anti-Narcotics Force arrested Deputy Director Drugs Abdul Sattar Sohrani.

He is also seeking restraining the Narcotics Control secretary and the principal secretary to prime minister from interfering in the investigation or prosecution of the matter by Anti-Narcotics Force.

The petition also says that the instructions of Narcotics Control secretary to forward the case to Drug Regulatory Agency be stopped forthwith.

The application by Anti-Narcotics Force to the Ministry of Narcotics Control for requesting the Interior Ministry for placing the names of accused on Exit Control List (ECL) be directed to be processed at the earliest, he adds.