The Lahore High Court on Thursday directed the Ministry of Religious Affairs to verify the tax and business records of all Hajj group organisers, both new applicants and those previously enrolled, from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Inland Revenue Department.
Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial issued this order on a contempt of court petition against the ministry for not awarding Hajj quotas to new tour operators. Representing the petitioners, the new tour operators, Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted that the ministry had ignored the court’s orders and allocated quotas only to previously registered operators.
He said the ministry had allotted quotas to 721 old tour operators, after the court had issued a stay on the allotment process, by backdating the allotments. He said most of these operators were black listed and ineligible for the quotas. The chief justice ordered the ministry to conduct a verification process at the Hajj Directorate Office (Hajj Camp) on Nicholson Road and adjourned the hearing till June 27.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.