islamabad - The top court on Tuesday declined a petition made by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi to suspend an order of the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi Bench, in which it was directed to conclude the ephedrine case against him by July 21. Hanif Abbasi is in the run for a national assembly seat from Rawalpindi in upcoming general elections 2018 and it is expected that any adverse decision in the said case could harm his campaign.  

Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench had ordered that the narcotics smuggling trial against Abbasi be concluded on July 21 by doing day to day hearings. A two-member bench of the Supreme Court heard the petition in which Abbasi’s counsel Kamran Murtaza argued that the ephedrine case was set to be heard by the trial court on August 2.  However, petitioner Shahid Orakzai pleaded the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi Bench to order a swift trial from July 16 onwards and conclude the case on July 21, he added further.  When Murtaza argued that the high court couldn’t change the trial’s date, Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that in fact, under Article 203 of the Constitution, the high court has the authority to do so. The bench then dismissed Abbasi’s petition and asked to go back to high court for the suspension of its earlier orders.  The PML-N’s leader is facing charges of misusing 500kg of the controlled chemical ephedrine since June 2012 when Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had registered a case against him. It was alleged that Abbasi sold the ephedrine, which he obtained for his company, Gray Pharmaceutical, in 2010 to drug smugglers who used it to make ‘party drugs’.

Meanwhile,the judge of Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) court on Tuesday rejected the plea of special public prosecutor of Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) of re-summoning the investigation officer to remove the errors and omission in production record. The judge of CNS court also ordered the ANF special public prosecutor to continue his comments on Ephedrine smuggling case involving PML-N stalwart and candidate from NA-60 Muhammad Hanif Abbasi . The court adjourned the hearing of the case till Wednesday. According to details, CNS Court Judge Sardar Muhammad Akram took up Ephedrine smuggling case following instructions of Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench. During the hearing, PML-N leader and former MNA Muhammad Hanif Abbasi , who is on bail, his lawyer Tanveer Iqbal, ANF Special Public Prosecutor Zahid Mehmood and all other accused were also present in the court room.

ANF special public prosecutor had pleaded to the court to summon the investigation officer again in the court so that he could remove the errors from production report of the case. However, the judge turned down the plea of ANF special public prosecutor and remarked un-attested record could not be made part of record as evidence.

The court also ordered ANF special public prosecutor to continue his comments in Ephedrine smuggling case. It may be expected that Zahid Mehmood would complete his arguments today (Wednesday) after which Tanvir Iqbal, the lawyer of Muhammad Hanif Abbasi , would offer his final comments before judge in the Ephedrine smuggling case.