PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi sentenced to life in ephedrine quota case

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RAWALPINDI: A special court on Saturday sentenced Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi to life in ephedrine quota case.
Abbasi was taken into custody from the courtroom after the judge announced the verdict.
Abbasi, who is contesting the upcoming election from NA-60 Rawalpindi, faced charges of misusing 500kg of the controlled chemical ephedrine, which he obtained for his company, Gray Pharmaceutical, in 2010.
The court, in its verdict announced after 6 years, ruled that nearly 363 kilogram of ephedrine was rightly used. It said that Abbasi failed to provide evidence of the use of remaining quantity of the drug.
The court acquitted seven other accused in the case giving them the benefit of doubt.
The security had been put on high-alert on the back entrance to the anti-narcotics court, with an armoured personnel carrier (APC) also present on the spot.Personnel of the Anti-Narcotics Force and police had closed the way leading out of the court.
A day earlier, Judge Mohammad Akram Khan had rejected Abbasi’s plea to delay the trial’s deadline, noting that it has to follow orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC).The judge also remarked that he will continue hearing arguments into the night if it takes that long.The court reserved its judgment on Saturday as Abbasi’s counsel concluded his arguments during today’s hearing.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had dismissed Abbasi’s petition against the LHC order directing to conclude the ephedrine case against him by July 21.
On July 11, the LHC Rawalpindi Bench, deciding on a plea filed by Shahid Orakzai, had ordered that the trial be conducted daily from July 16 onwards and concluded on July 21.
The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had registered a case against Abbasi and his accomplices in June 2012 under various sections of the Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) Act.
ANF officials claim the substance was sold by Abbasi to narcotics smugglers who used it to make ‘party drugs’.
The trial has been ongoing in a CNS Court in Rawalpindi.
Abbasi and the other accused, including his brother, were indicted in 2014 by the CNS Court.Abbasi, a former MNA from Rawalpindi, is expected to have a tough electoral contest on July 25 with Sheikh Rasheed — who is allied with PML-N’s chief opponent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

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