ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court has returned a petition against former Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani over his alleged involvement in disbanding a legally established Armed Forces Medical Store Depot and manufacturing, supplying and procuring substandard and spurious medicines to military hospitals.

Lt. Col (Retd) Inamul Rahiem in his petition had made the Ministry of Defence, Gen (Redt) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Lt-General (Retd) Athar, Lt. General (Retd) Asif Yasin, Managing Director Relance Pharmaceutical Company Lt. Col Naveed Akbar Tanveer and all central officers (Record Office) of the General Headquarters (GHQ), respondents.

The petitioner had alleged that a group involved in the matter of illegal disbandment of the depot and illegal transfer of the civilian staff was headed by former COAS Kayani, former Corps Commander Karachi Lt. Gen Athar, who after retirement served as secretary Ministry of Defence.

The petition had prayed before the top court to issue directions for complete audit of the medical store tendered, purchased and procured by the improperly established depots at 27 CMHs.

It further had prayed to refer the matter regarding disbanding legally-established depot, manufacturing, supplying and procuring the substandard and spurious medicines to the NAB for criminal proceedings.

However, the order of objections issued by top court’s registrar stated that the case was apparently pending adjudication in Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench.

“The petitioner has not approached any other appropriate forum available to him under the law for the same relief. He has also not provided any justification in doing so,” the registrar’s objections stated.

The petitioner Rahim told The Nation that the petition is objected at the time when Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has been hearing the cases related to spurious drugs and the DRAP.

He said that the observations of chief justice that “if any volunteer comes to assist the court to unearth the mafia involved in such like business” prompted him to appear in this matter along with the record.

“During his [Athar] stay as Corps Commander at Karachi, he came across certain medicine manufacturers and knew their business technique and after his retirement from [the] armed forces he decided to set up the business of medicines,” the petition had stated.

It had further added that Athar got the services of former Lt. Col Naveed who had long association with him and kept on looking after his other extra service interests.

After retirement, Lt. Col Naveed established a pharmaceutical factory as a frontman of Lt. Gen (Retd) Athar, the petition had alleged.

In 2009, a drug inspector sent the sample of tablet Tinize manufactured by Medizan Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd and which was supplied to the DHQ Hospital Rawalpindi and in the market.

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

“Due to involvement of senior hierarchy of [the] armed forces, neither the factory was sealed nor the accused persons were arrested and they continued the business,” the petition had stated.

“However, during 2016 due to effective campaign of [the] Punjab Government against the substandard medicine manufacturers, action was initiated against these accused persons also and in the instant case after seven years of registration of complaint and various tests, the Punjab Quality Board on 14 July 2016 issued the order for prosecution against all the accused persons,” it added.

The petition 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 [the] FIR for manufacturing and supplying substandard medicines to the civil market, the consignment was offered to different CMHs, but due to policy of [the] federal government, [the] CMHs were not allowed bulk purchases as commandant CMH could only purchase emergency medicines from the market, if not available in the store, called as LP [local purchase].”

The petition added that during a meeting at the GHQ it was revealed that in the presence of the AFMSD Nowshera, the CMHs were not allowed to purchase any medicine directly from the supplier after which it was decided to do away with the AFMSD Nowshera.

“For that purpose, a proposal was floated to secretary Ministry of Defence for disbandment of the AFMSD Nowshera and establishment of 27 sub-depots at every CMH to directly purchase the medicines from the manufacturing units/suppliers,” he added.

The proposal could not materialise as at that point of time Nargas Sethi was secretary defence and it was not expected out of her to issue the disbandment order, therefore General Kayani used his influence and got Nargas Sethi transferred and [was] not allowed to complete the tenure, the petitioner claimed.

“She [Sethi] could only serve as secretary Ministry of Defence for six months. Then Gen Kayani managed Lt. Gen Asif Yasin, who was then retired as Corps Commander Peshawar and in July 2012 he was appointed as secretary Ministry of Defence,” it added.

The petition stated that in 2013 a fake letter, purported to be with the approval of the federal government, was issued by Lt. Gen (Retd) Asif Yasin in connivance with COAS Kayani.

The petition contended that the letter was fake and the federal government never gave such approval of disbandment of Nowshera depot and adjustment of a huge number of civilian employees those otherwise could not be posted out as been Inter Services Organisation (ISO) Employees.

It added that Medizon Pharma was sold away during 2016-2017 and the investment was transferred to another Pharma Firm known as Relance where Lt. Col (Retd) Naveed was working as general manager production.

“It is also on record that one of the present partners of Relance Pharmaceutical was involved in famous Ephedrine case,” the petition stated.

“At the moment only one medicine is regularly sent for testing that is Tab Maloquine meant for Congo Fever, which is used by the troops sent on UN Missions, since it is requirement of the UN that no medicine would be accepted from Pakistan without test report, therefore it is the only medicine which is tested regularly and supplied accordingly,” it added. 

One of the medical officers, served at the CMH Bannu, observed negative effects of injections namely “Ketrogesic and Suzone,” and when reported the issue he earned the wrath and subsequently the officer tendered resignation, it said.

“Despite this both the Phamra firms were never blacklisted for supplying spurious and substandard medicines to war zones nor the supply of such injections to other 27 CMHs were discontinued,” the petition had claimed.