Hamid Kazmi indicted in Hajj corruption case
31 May, 2012
RAWALPINDI: A trial court on Wednesday indicted former religious affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi, former director general (Hajj) Rao Shakeel and former joint secretary (Hajj) Aftabul Islam Raja in the Hajj corruption case.
Judge Khalid Shabbir charged Kazmi with acquiring residential buildings for Pakistani pilgrims at exorbitant rates in Saudi Arabia in 2009, taking commission, making advance payments in violation of the policy and appointing Ahmed Faiz as building hiring superviser.
The court framed almost similar charges against all the three accused, who rejected the charge-sheet. The judge adjourned the hearing until June 5 and summoned 10 witnesses to appear before the court to record their statements on the next date.
The court also declared accused Ahmed Faiz absconder for not attending the court proceedings despite repeated notices. On May 25, the court rejected the acquittal plea of the former minister terming it 'premature' as around 89 witnesses had yet to record their statements, including Pakistan's Ambassador in Saudi Arabia Umar Khan Sherzai. The judge in his ruling had said the allegations levelled against the minister were of a 'serious nature', which needed to be examined from all aspects and his acquittal plea was 'premature'.
A committee visited Saudi Arabia soon after completion of the post-Hajj flight operations in 2009 to get feedback on arrangements made for Pakistani pilgrims, and submitted its report to the then religious affairs minister, pointing out corruption worth billions of rupees.