Rawalpindi, July 22: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi was sentenced to life imprisonment in ephedrine quota case on Saturday. The verdict in the ephedrine smuggling case has been pronounced after six years.

Abbasi and his accomplices were charged under the sections of Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) Act for misusing 500kg of the controlled chemical ephedrine, which he obtained for his company Gray Pharmaceutical in 2010. A case was registered against him and his accomplices by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) in June 2012. Seven others involved in the case were acquitted by the special court. Abbasi’s brother was one among the accused.

Hanif Abbasi was the fourth PML-N leader to be disqualified and sentenced by the court, four days before the general election. Abbasi was contesting the upcoming election from NA-60 Rawalpindi. He was expected to have a tough electoral contest with Sheikh Rasheed on July 25. Sheikh Rasheed is an ally of PML-N’s arch-rival, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

The special anti-narcotics court ruled that 363kg of ephedrine quota was rightly used. The court also stated that Abbasi did not provide any evidence for using the remaining quantity of the drug. ANF officials claimed that Abbasi sold the substance to narcotics smugglers, which was used to make ‘party drugs.’

The security around the special court was put on high-alert. Personnel of the Anti-Narcotics Force and police closed the way out of the court premises. An armoured personnel carrier (APC) was present on the back entrance.