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Hajj corruption: SC tells Gilani to 'claim' immunity

05 July, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Hearing the suo motu case regarding irregularities in Hajj 2010, the Supreme Court on Thursday observed that immunity under Article 248 of the constitution was not automatic, therefore former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will have to claim it in accordance with the law.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, told the former premier's counsel Amjad Iqbal Qureshi that it was a misperception that immunity under Article 248 of the constitution was automatic. "It has to be claimed," the court said.

"Much law has been developed on the issue and unless it is determined the immunity could not be granted," the chief justice said.

It must be noted that the same bench had on February 25 directed the Law Ministry to examine the case of Gilani, who claimed immunity under Article 248 of the constitution in the case of illegal appointment of former Hajj director general Rao Shakeel.

The Ministry of Law and Justice had given the legal opinion that Gilani enjoys immunity under the said Article in the investigation into Hajj scandal despite the fact that he was no more the prime minister.

About bringing back Ahmed Faiz, FIA Additional DG (Law) Azam Khan informed the court that the ministries of interior and foreign affairs had written a letter to their Saudi counterparts but so far no progress has been made on that front. Ahmed Faiz was an agent who, on behalf of Pakistani authorities, had arranged buildings in Saudi Arabia.

FIA Director Hussain Asghar and the investigative officer in the case told the court that the Saudi police were reluctant to raid the places that they had pointed out to them where Ahmed Faiz could be residing.

"Saudis are not ready to cooperate and allowing us to record the statements of those who involved in Haj scam," said Azam Khan.

End.

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