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Former Pak PM Gilani's son arrested in drugs case

Islamabad: Pakistani police arrested the son of former Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday in connection with a drugs case, the latest twist in a power struggle between the increasingly assertive Supreme Court and the ruling party.

The feud could hurt Pakistan's young democracy and distract the government from tackling widespread poverty, a Taliban insurgency and chronic power shortages.  The anti-narcotics force arrested Ali Musa at the Supreme Court gates on Friday. The arrest warrant was issued in June, but Musa has been in hiding.

On Friday, the court was expected to decide whether to grant him bail, but he was arrested first.

Gilani's son is accused of using his political influence in 2010 to get the ephedrine for two pharmaceutical companies. They are suspected of diverting it to people in the drug trade. Ephedrine can be used to make methamphetamines.

Musa has denied the charge.

Police said they detained Ali Musa Gilani ahead of his scheduled court appearance.

File photo of Gilani with his eldest son (right) Abdul Qadir Gilani.  AFP

In June, the Supreme Court removed his father, Yousaf Raza Gilani, from his post as prime minister over his refusal to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The current prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, could face the same fate if he too fails to re-open the corruption cases against Zardari.

Television stations showed police dragging Ali Musa Gilani from his vehicle and handcuffing him.

He is accused of pressuring Health Ministry officials to exceed export quotas for ephedrine, an ingredient for cough medicine which can also be used to make ecstasy.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has earned a reputation for taking on Pakistan's most powerful figures, including members of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the military, which has ruled the country for more than half of its history.

Critics say he meddles in areas outside the Supreme Court's jurisdiction and creates political tensions that fuel instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan, a strategic US ally.

Chaudhry himself has come under scrutiny.

A real estate tycoon, Malik Riaz, accused the chief justice of turning a blind eye to his son's alleged financial practices. Riaz said he has given more than $3 million to the top judge's son, Arsalan Iftikhar Chaudhry, who denies the allegations.

Agencies