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PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi awarded life imprisonment in ephedrine quota case

RAWALPINDI: In a fresh blow to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), an anti-narcotics court on Saturday awarded party leader Hanif Abbasi life imprisonment in the ephedrine quota case on Saturday night, ARY News reported.

Anti-Narcotics Court Rawalpindi had reserved judgment in the case after Hanif Abbasi’s lawyer Tanveer Iqbal and the counsel for Anti-Narcotics Force had concluded their arguments earlier in the day.

The PML-N leader was arrested from the court premises soon after the special court’s judge Sardar Akram announced the verdict. Seven other accused have been acquitted due to lack of evidence.

The court’s verdict has rendered Abbasi ineligible to contest the July 25 general elections.The PML-N leader was about to contest polls against Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed from NA-60 constituency of Rawalpindi.

Hanif Abbasi and eight others were accused in the ephedrine quota case. The PML-N leader was accused of misappropriating 500kg of the controlled chemical ephedrine, obtaining it in 2010, and selling it to narcotics smugglers.

Earlier, on June 11, Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi of the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench had ordered the judge of the special court to announce its verdict by July 21 — four days before the general elections.

The trial court was also directed to hear the matter from July 16 onwards, on a daily basis.

Mr Abbasi filed the appeal against these directives before a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed which rejected the appeal.

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