Contempt proceedings against Khursheed Shah dropped
05 October, 2012
LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday dropped contempt of court proceedings against Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah.
The LHC CJ also discharged a contempt notice that was issued earlier to the minister for not complying with the court's order about allocation of Hajj quota among newly registered hajj group organisers (HGOs).
Deputy Attorney General Nasim Kashmiri and Hajj Director Malik Saeed appeared before the court and submitted a report, stating that quota of 89,605 pilgrims was allocated for private tour operators.
The report also read quota of 87,960 pilgrims was awarded to 721 eligible HGOs while quota of 1,150 pilgrims was given to armed forces. The quota of another 50 pilgrims was given to a company on the direction of the Balochistan High Court, whereas quota of 100 pilgrims was given to two companies in compliance with the Supreme Court order.
The report read further quota of 150 pilgrims was restored to two tour operators and the ministry was left with only quota of 190 pilgrims. Malik Saeed also presented the merit list of 10 private tour operators and explained that three of them had got the experience of six years while rest of companies had five-year experience. He said that quota of 49 pilgrims was given to Dissani Travels and Tours while quota of 47 each would be awarded to City Travels, Usman Travels and Super Travels. He assured the court that all formalities, including issuance of visa and Hajj forms, would be completed in a day.
The chief justice directed the ministry to give quota to top 4 companies on merit and submit a compliance report until October 8.
The petitioners counsel Azhar Siddique said that he would also file objections and contempt petition about awarding quota to some private HGOs in violation of Hajj policy and high court orders. He also said that Hajj Joint Secretary Hafiz Sher Ali has been removed from his post as a punishment for presenting true picture in the court.
He said that Sher Ali had assisted the court for three months and helped it in completing the process of awarding quota to eligible HGOs. He said that some officials of the ministry misled Khurshid Shah that contempt proceedings were initiated against him due to the blunder committed by the joint secretary.
Justice Bandial said that the court would look into the matter and determine whether transfer of joint secretary was done with male fide intentions.
The HGOs had moved the contempt of court petition against the ministry for not allotting them quota despite court orders. Siddique had argued that the ministry deliberately ignored the directions issued by the court and had not allocated Hajj quota among the petitioner-organisers.