The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday orders the interior ministry to remove the name of Syed Ali Musa Gilani, the youngest son of former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, from the Exit Control List (ECL).
In a bid to prevent those accused in the ‘ephedrine scandal’ from leaving the country, Musa Gilani’s name was placed in the ECL in the year 2012 along with other accused in the case.
The federal government failed to fulfil legal formalities in the case, Musa Gilani’s lawyer said in the hearing today and complained of political victimisation following which, he added, his client’s name was placed in the ECL.
On the other hand, the government’s lawyer insisted that the case was still in the courts and so, Musa Gilani’s request to remove his name from the ECL must be rejected.
Nevertheless, after hearing arguments from both the sides, the court gave a verdict in favour of Musa Gilani and told the interior ministry to take his name out of the list at the earliest.
The ephedrine scandal
The scandal shocked the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government some five years ago.
In March 2011, the then federal minister Makhdum Shahabuddin, told the National Assembly that an investigation would be held into the alleged illegal allocation of some 9,000 kilogrammes of ephedrine to two pharmaceutical companies: Berlex and Danas when under the rules, a company cannot get more than 500 kilogrammes of ephedrine.
The statement attracted the Supreme Court’s attention and a case was launched.
In 2012, the then Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry pointed out that Musa Gilani was also a suspect in the case.
The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had issued notices to Musa and one of his alleged ‘front men’ for manipulating the unauthorised allocation.
The ANF strongly contested the plea at the LHC seeking deletion of Musa Gilani’s name from the ECL, saying the petitioner might escape abroad if his name was deleted from the list.