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Pakistani daily seeks impartial probe in drug scam

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's son Musa Gilani may have "curried favour" and been involved in wrongdoing but "only an impartial investigation can unearth the facts" in the Rs.7 billion pharma scam, said a leading Pakistani daily.

An editorial in the Dawn Wednesday said that "excess and abuse of power are apparently two sides of the same coin regardless of who tosses it".

"In the controversial case involving ephedrine release to two pharmaceutical companies under investigation by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), first it was the prime minister who summarily dismissed senior ANF officials who were investigating the case. This was done seemingly to thwart investigations by the force, which allegedly led to the PM's son Ali Musa Gilani.

"And now it is the ANF officials who took the case of their peers' dismissal to court and started acting in a questionable manner," it said.

The daily said that the letter sent by the ANF inquiry officer to the PM Secretariat asking for the record of visitors to that office since 2009 is the "action in question".

It observed that even if this information is required for investigating an alleged Rs.7 billion scam, the request should have been routed through the narcotics control ministry.

"But the ANF - with military officers on board - has also picked a bone with the ministry to which it is accountable. This conduct may be based on the disdain military officers have historically shown for civilian authorities, but it has no basis in law in a democratic set-up," the daily noted.

Stressing that investigation into the scam is important, it said: "...there are limits which should not be crossed".

"The ANF's letter to the PM Secretariat appears to be an effort to undermine an elected government.

"...Musa Gilani may have curried favour and may have been involved in wrongdoing. Only an impartial investigation can unearth the facts," it said.

The daily insisted that the "investigation cannot be given a partisan colour and there must be no agenda at work".

"The ANF will have to show that it is not out to get the PM's son to settle scores with Mr Gilani for firing its officials. It must not appear as if some quarters are running a smear campaign against the elected government," it added. 

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