ISLAMABAD - The matter of disbanding legally established depot, manufacturing, supplying and procuring substandard and spurious medicines to 27 different CMHs with alleged involvement of former army chief General (r) Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has been pending adjudication in the Lahore High Court for the last three years, but could not come up for hearing to date, the Supreme Court was informed Monday.

“The respondents were so powerful that the case could not come up for hearing for 19 months, which is unprecedented in the judicial history of Pakistan. Neither any official from the Ministry of Defence appeared in the court nor was any reply submitted for three years, and finally, on September 19, 2017, Justice Farrukh Irfan gave the Ministry of Defence last opportunity to give the reply and adjourned the case for October 3, 2017. Even then no reply was filed till date,” the application stated, challenging the orders of the registrar.

On April 19, the Supreme Court’s Registrar Office returned a petition on the matter wherein Lt-Gen (r) Athar, Lt-Gen (r) Asif Yasin, managing director of the pharmaceutical company, Lt-Col Naveed Akbar Tanveer, and all central officers (record office) of General Headquarters (GHQ) along with former army chief Kayani were made respondents. The instant application was filed by Col (r) Inam-ur-Rahim challenging the objections of the top court’s registrar.

Replying to the objection why the petitioner had not invoked the jurisdiction of the relevant forum, the applicant claimed after the matter was fixed before Justice Irfan in the LHC, there was apprehension of adverse decision, so the judge was transferred from the Rawalpindi Bench by former LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah.

“The date of the case had already been fixed as October 3, 2017, but was cancelled by the registrar office without any justification and thereafter the case never came up for hearing,” the applicant stated.

“The concept that the military establishment is a state within the state has become obsolete as now it has emerged as an empire within a metropolitan. At the moment, all the organs of the state virtually stand paralysed, which is evident from the record that report of spurious medicines by a drug inspector was initiated against the racket on January 7, 2009, and Col Naveed, a front man of this racket was charged-sheeted on February 13, 2018, by the drug court. Even after registration of the case, they continued the business of manufacturing spurious medicines for another nine years,” it said.

It stated the instant matter is very sensitive as the spurious medicines have been supplied to CMHs as well as in civil market. The applicant also recalled that Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) sealed almost 195 factories involved in the dirty business after Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took cognizance of the matter which is similar in nature.

“Former defence secretary Lt-Gen (r) Asif Yasin who illegally issued the fake letter to disband the well-established medicine depot had also served as corps commander 11, Corps Peshawar. Being the corps commander of a war zone, he knew very well about the enormous casualties of his own troops. Even then, by issuing the fake letter, became part of criminal conspiracy,” the applicant said.

According to the allegations, as claimed in the main petition, Lt-Col Naveed, after retirement, established a medicine manufacturing factory as a front man of Lt-Gen (r) Ather. In 2009, a drug inspector sent the sample of Tablet Tinize manufactured by Medizan Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd, which was supplied to DHQ Hospital Rawalpindi and in the market.

The Drug Testing Laboratory Punjab in February 2009 confirmed the said drug was substandard and also revealed that M/s Medizan had also issued warranty to M/s Foray Pharma in 2008.

“However, during 2016, due to effective campaign of the Punjab government against the substandard medicine manufacturers, action was initiated against these accused persons after 7 years of registration of complaint. The Punjab Quality Board on 14-07-2016 issued the order for prosecution against all the accused persons,” the petition had further stated.

The petitioner further contended that after nine years of continuous and perpetual offence, Lt-Col (r) Naveed was charge-sheeted by the drug court. “After registration of an FIR for manufacturing and supplying substandard medicines to the civil market, consignment was offered to different CMHs, but due to policy of the federal government, the CMHs were not allowed bulk purchases as CMH commandant could only purchase emergency medicines from the market if they were not available in the store,” it added.

 

SYED SABEEHUL HUSSNAIN