Arrest all involved in Haj scam: Pakistani apex court

By Awais Saleem, IANS
Monday, December 6, 2010

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s Supreme Court Monday expressed displeasure over alleged corruption in arrangements for Haj pilgrims and directed the authorities to arrest all accused involved in the scam.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary, in his remarks, said thousands of Haj pilgrims have suffered because of the maladministration by concerned officials.

“Even the elected representatives have voiced their concerns,” he said.

The chief justice admonished federal secretary, religious affairs, Agha Sarwar Raza for failing to take appropriate measures and directed that former director general Haj affairs Rao Shakeel’s name be put on the exit control list (ECL).

“It is regrettable that such religious activities are also being subjected to corrupt practices,” he noted.

The Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, Hamid Saeed Kazmi, also appeared in the court. “We are being targeted by vested interests. I can prove that the scale of corruption this year, if any, was much less than previous years,” he said.

As many as 160,000 pilgrims had gone from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia this year and had to face hardships because of lack of proper accommodation and transport. The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) of Pakistan is already investigating the matter on the directions of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Filed under: Court, Immigration, India, Pakistan, World

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