Rawalpindi (Dawn/ANN) - The Peshawar High Court yesterday granted pre-arrest bail to former federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, a day after warrant for his arrest had been issued by a special court in Rawalpindi in the ephedrine case.
The warrant was issued after Shahabuddin had filed his nomination papers as the main Pakistan People's Party (PPP) candidate for the post of prime minister.
A single-judge bench of Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan granted the bail on a petition filed by Shahabuddin and directed him to appear before the court concerned within a week.
The bench asked him to furnish two sureties of 2 million rupees (US$21,164) each.
Shahabuddin filed the petition through Barrister Zahoor-ul-Haq and Shahnawaz Khan with a plea that the warrant had been issued with mala fide intentions because the same day he had submitted his nomination papers and was a front-runner in the election for the office of prime minister.
Special (anti-narcotics) court judge Shafqatullah Khan had issued the warrants against Shahabuddin and Ali Musa Gilani, son of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Barrister Zahoor pointed out in the court that the FIR (first information report) in the case filed on Oct. 10, 2011, by the Anti Narcotics Force (NAF) police station in Rawalpindi had not charged the petitioner.
He said that warrants had been issued the day the petitioner had filed his nomination papers for the election of prime minister which showed mala fide intentions of the authorities. He said the name of the petitioner was not there also in the final charge-sheet of the case submitted before the court.
Barrister Zahoor said if the petitioner was arrested he would face an "irreparable loss" because he would not be able to contest election.
He said the petitioner might be treated in accordance with law and given time so that he could appear before the court concerned.
Makhdoom Shahabuddin told reporters that there was no case against him and his warrants were issued after he had filed his nomination papers.
Alleging that a conspiracy had been hatched to stop him from contesting the polls, he said the warrant would not have been issued, had he not been nominated for the prime minister¿s office.