News Analysis |
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has dismissed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N’s) leader Hanif Abbasi’s petition against a high court order to conclude the ephedrine case against him by July 21. Two member bench took up the plea from Abbasi’s counsel Kamran Murtaza. He argued that the ephedrine case was set to be heard by the trial court on August 02, but Lahore High Court (LHC) unlawfully changed the trial date.
The apex court objected to his argument and remarked that under Article 203 of the Constitution, the high court has the authority to change the trial date. The petitioner Shahid Orakzai had pleaded the LHC Rawalpindi Bench to order a swift trial from July 16 onwards and conclude the case on July 21. After hearing the arguments, the bench dismissed the Hanif’s petition.
The latter’s alliance with PTI was instrumental in his election in 2013 elections. And this time around too, a tough electoral contest is expected between the two Rawalpindi leaders.
On July 11, Justice Abdul Rehman Lodhi of LHC Rawalpindi bench had directed that the ephedrine case against the accused should be concluded on July 21. He had ruled to start the daily proceedings of the case from July 16 to conclude it by July 21.
The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had registered a case against PML-N’s stalwart and his accomplices in June 2012 under various sections of the CNS Act. Abbasi received the charge sheet in August 2013 and he along with other accused was indicted by the Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) court in October 2014.
PML-N’s outspoken and controversial leader is facing the charges of misusing 500kg of the controlled chemical ephedrine. He allegedly obtained the drug in 2010 for his company, Gray Pharmaceutical, for selling it to narcotics smugglers. Abbasi denies the charges in this long-running case. The CNS Court Judge Raza Pervez Akhtar is hearing the case.
He claims that the case is politically motivated and is based on ill intent. This case has been dragging along for some time now. If the decision is reached in this case before the July 25 elections, there are more likely chances that the result may go against the PML-N leader.
The petitioner Shahid Orakzai had pleaded the LHC Rawalpindi Bench to order a swift trial from July 16 onwards and conclude the case on July 21. After hearing the arguments, the bench dismissed the Hanif’s petition.
The unfavorable verdict could have severe repercussions on Abbasi’s contest against AML chairman Sheikh Rasheed in NA-60, Rawalpindi. The latter’s alliance with PTI was instrumental in his election in 2013 elections. And this time around too, a tough electoral contest is expected between the two Rawalpindi leaders.
It is surprising that Abbasi thinks that the case was put on fast track given the fact that case is in courts for the last 6-years. In October 2017, the judge had asked both parties to show seriousness as the verdict is expected in a couple of weeks. If after more than 8-months, the decision is expected on July 21, it should be welcomed rather than showing anguish on the case running for years.