NA committee drags its feet on drug quota probe
25 April, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Narcotics Control appears to be dragging its feet to probe the scandal of allocation of ephedrine quota, a chemical used in medicine, allegedly involving Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani's son, Ali Musa Gilani, when it again put off its meeting scheduled for today (Wednesday).
Ali Musa Gilani is a co-accused in the ephedrine import scandal as per documents submitted by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) in the apex court, which is hearing this case.
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Narcotics Control, headed by the opposition PML-N, decided to take up this matter when it first surfaced and convene a meeting on April 17, which was postponed due to inability of the narcotics control minister and secretary to appear before it.
However, the meeting scheduled for today was again postponed and would now meet on April 27, according to its chairman, Murtaza Javed Abbasi.
Talking to our sources, Abbasi justified the postponement on the grounds that the apex court was also hearing the case, so the committee is awaiting progress in the issue in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, in its hearing on April 20, adjourned the proceedings for three weeks without fixing any further date.
Abbasi denied that there was any pressure on him, when asked whether the delay in holding the meeting was being caused by any quarter, adding that he would go ahead with the probe as per rules.
The standing committee would summon officials of the Anti-Narcotics Force as well as the anti-narcotics minister and establishment secretary, who would present their stance on the issue at the next meeting of the committee.
Sources confided that the committee could also invite MNA Ali Musa Gilani to explain his position, if he desires so.
The committee comprises 17 members with six from the ruling Pakistan People's Party, four from the PML-N, three from the PML-Q and one each from the Awami National Party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.