The Lahore High Court (LHC) has discharged Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi in the ephedrine quota case, as well as nullifying his lifetime sentence.

A two-member bench announced the decision on the PML-N leader’s appeal against the sentence.

In the last hearing, Justice Aalia Neelum and Justice Asjad Javed Ghural had reserved the judgement after hearing arguments from lawyers.

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Hanif Abbasi was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court on July 21, just a few days before 2018 general elections for control of narcotics substance (CNS).

In 2012, he and his co-accused were charged by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) for misusing 500kg of ephedrine, citing Sections 9-C, 14, and 15 of the Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) Act. He was contesting election in NA-60, Rawalpindi against main rival, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad of Awami Muslim League. However, he was disqualified after being found guilty in the case.

The PML-N leader said in an appeal that the sentence was politically motivated, and there were eight suspects in case, but only the appellant got convicted. It was also mentioned in the appeal that the appellant didn’t misuse the ephedrine quota but the trial court ignored this fact and announced its decision.   

“I was kept away from two elections (due to the case) and my daughter was also kicked out of her job,” Abbasi claimed. He also shared that his younger brother was kept in illegal confinement for 14 days.

“If Sheikh Rashid contests the election, then the competition will be in the polls,” said Abbasi.