The Special Court for Drug Prevention, which sentenced former PML-N National Assembly member Hanif Abbasi to life in prison in the Ephedrine quota case in 2018, has now said that there is no concrete evidence of this that Hanif Abbasi or any of his family members made assets from the drug business.
The July 2018 ruling said that Hanif Abbasi was involved in the drug trade, but in the July 2020 ruling, the same court proved that Hanif Abbasi did not make assets from the drug trade.
Although the recent decision of the Special Court Rawalpindi is related to the assets of Hanif Abbasi. The anti-narcotics force wanted the court to prove that Hanif Abbasi made that asset from the drug trade.
But in this situation, serious questions arise on the verdict passed by the same court in July 2018 in which the accused was found guilty in a controversial manner and apparently it was a weak and politically motivated case.
The July 2018 verdict was delivered by the then Special Court Judge Sardar Mohammad Akram while the July 2020 verdict was delivered by Sohail Nasir.
According to the 2018 verdict, Hanif Abbasi was found guilty of selling 500 kg of ephedrine to drug smugglers. The Anti-Narcotics Force wanted all the assets of Hanif Abbasi and his family to be confiscated on the grounds that they were amassed from drug money.
However, in a judgment dated July 2, 2020, the Special Court dismissed the ANF case and restored all the assets of Hanif Abbasi and his family.
In the latest decision of the Special Court, the prosecution has been asked what “solid” thing has been presented in this case. The answer is no.
Relying solely on the fact that the respondent could not provide any explanation as to where and how he created these assets, the ANF has approached this court. There should be solid material to prove that the assets were obtained from the drug trade.
The ruling further states that over-source income and illicit involvement in the drug trade are two separate terms. If a person cannot justify it, it does not give the impression that he has amassed these assets from the drug trade until there is evidence, as there are many other ways to amass wealth.
If the respondent did not justify these assets, then the relevant institution against Hanif Abbasi could be the Income Tax Department as well as the NAB who had a government post. The court ruling also said that it seems that the ANF has thrown the ball in the court of law from day one, but the impression is that they will have to prove themselves.
This is contrary to the established principle that it is the duty of the prosecution to convince the court that the assets have been amassed from the drug trade, to bring concrete evidence and prove that in the name of the accused and his accomplices that the assets came from the drug trade.
“As a result of my decision, I do not consider it necessary to confiscate the assets of the accused, all applications are rejected,” the decision said.All assets are restored in favor of the accused.
Hanif Abbasi was jailed in July 2018. He was released on bail by the Lahore High Court in April 2019 and the orders of the special court were suspended.
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