Sunday, December 08, 2013

Pakistan Supreme Court Issues Orders In Hajj Corruption Case

In Suo Moto Case No. 24 of 2010, (Pak. Sup. Ct., Dec. 6, 2013), a 3-judge bench of the Pakistan Supreme Court handed down a decision in the long-running case involving massive corruption in the arrangements for Pakistani Hajj pilgrims for the year 2010. the court held:
(i) Federal Investigation Agency is directed to probe into the matter in depth and determine as to whether the extra amount charged by the authorities has been reimbursed to the Hujjaj or not?
(ii) Strict measures should be adopted in future in order to avoid such like incidents of corruption in Hajj arrangements, whereby not only the pilgrims had been looted but also it had brought a bad name to the country.
(iii) The Government should issue the guidelines regarding the Hajj arrangements including hiring of buildings for providing accommodation to Hujjaj as well as transportation and other facilities during Hajj.
(iv) The FIA is directed to take strict action against all those persons including politicians, officers and others in echelons of power, who interfered with and hampered the investigation....
(v) The amount of Rs.5000/- charged by the Hajj Tour Operators from each Haji in excess of the actual amount be refunded to them.
Reporting on the decision, the Express Tribune explained:
Former Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi, former director-general Hajj affairs Rao Shakeel and former additional secretary to ministry of religious affairs Raja Aftabul Islam were accused of being involved in widespread corruption.  They were accused of renting residential buildings for Pakistani pilgrims in Saudi Arabia at exorbitant rates and inflicting a loss of a billion rupees to the national exchequer.
(See prior related posting.)