Federal ministers lock horns in Hajj fiasco

Published: November 22, 2010

Kazmi initiates defamation lawsuit against Azam Khan Swati who accused him of involvement in corruption

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani intervened and directed Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi to take back the compensation notice sent to Federal Minister of Science and Technology Azam Khan Swati, on Monday.

Gilani spoke to both ministers and directed them to refrain from issuing statements against each other, and also directed the religious affairs minister to submit a detailed report on the Hajj scam.

Earlier, Hamid Saeed Kazmi had served a defamation notice against Azam Khan Swati, seeking Rs100 million as compensation for wrongly involving him in the Hajj corruption case.

Express 24/7 correspondent Sabur Ali Syed reported that Swati spoke to the media in Mansera and said that without the connivance of the Religious Affairs Minister, it was not possible for officials to be involved in corruption.

Swati had appealed to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to dismiss Kazmi immediately as he is “directly involved in this scam in one way or another”.

Swati highlighted the plight of the Hajj pilgrims, saying they were innocent people who had been “looted” and overcharged and that facilities were not provided to them.

He said the massive corruption involved the religious affairs minister and that he cannot be exonerated. He further added that instead of arresting other officials, action should be taken against Kazmi.

The Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi served a legal notice on Azam Khan Swati and said that he should provide solid proof of corruption instead of leveling accusations against him.

“Swati is out to destroy my reputation,” said Kazmi, speaking to Express 24/7. “Two federal ministers should not get into an exercise that can create embarrassment for the government.

Kazmi said he is being victimised and has turned to the court because he is unable to find any other remedy.

“Being a minister I cannot say that I cannot take any responsibility, but wrongdoers who have directly committed this crime can also not be imposed on me,” said Kazmi.

He added that eyewitness accounts and details of the corruption and mismanagement had been given to him, and that he would disclose the people responsible for the debacle upon his return to Pakistan.

Ambassador calls for enquiry into Hajj scam

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Omer Khan Sher Zai has asked the government to form a Judicial Commission to launch an inquiry into the Hajj controversy.

Talking to Express News earlier, he said a high level inquiry should be carried out to resolve this issue.

He termed all the allegations levelled against him by Hamid Saeed Kazmi as baseless.

Sherzai was of the view that due to the sensitive nature of the issue, it should not be politicised.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Amer
    Nov 22, 2010 - 12:52PM

    It’s really funny how Kazmi Sahab is asking for Rs100 million compensation from everyone these days. Recommend

  • Rana Amjad
    Nov 22, 2010 - 3:36PM

    Show must go on! Recommend

  • Faisal
    Nov 22, 2010 - 3:52PM

    is there anyone sincere wiht the country ? Recommend

  • Syed Nadir El-Edroos
    Nov 22, 2010 - 4:05PM

    Its amazing how everyone wants an outside solution to every problem, but when it comes to collecting money they dont think twice before filling suits. Recommend

  • Shah Faisal
    Nov 22, 2010 - 4:20PM

    They say Mr. Swati has always been a Mr. Clean. And he is known for his free-of-corruption and fair politics.Recommend

  • SUB
    Nov 22, 2010 - 4:25PM

    Mr. Sawati just woke up I suppose or he could have pointed out a million other scandals in the government….. Or may be JUI (F) is also a candidate for the ministry of Hajj Recommend

  • Jamal Khan Bajwa
    Nov 22, 2010 - 5:39PM

    All Government and Politicians are corrupt. Now they are looting the poor and good peoplein the sacred and holy land of Islam by the name of Islam. For the sack of Almighty Allah stop the corruption by the name of Islam other wise will fave severe punishment. If afraid from Almighty Allah and believe on Jadgement Day. All these are acts like termites.Recommend

  • Nadia Bari
    Nov 22, 2010 - 6:02PM

    I wish Mr Kazmi was as diligent about protecting the welfare of the Pakistani Hajjis as he is about his own reputation.Recommend

  • Nov 22, 2010 - 6:05PM

    Everybody in this government, including their coalition partners are responsible for what has happened to poor innocent Hajis, most of them having spent their lifelong savings to perform this ritual. When everybody from top to bottom is making money, than what else can you expect the Haj officials to do also. These vultures fear nobody including God. This is what happens when there are no ethics or accountability in politics and government. The ROT HAS SET IN AND THIS HOUSE WILL FALL, IF THIS ROT CONTINUES. The Minister must either resign or else be sacked, so should the DG Haj, the concerned Secretary and other top officials. A judicial inquiry by a judge of the SC should be carried out.Recommend

  • KM
    Nov 22, 2010 - 7:09PM

    PLUS these goons should NOT be allowed to do any Hajj while on duty … This shows that they squeeze the best facilities for themselves at the cost of all the rest.Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Nov 22, 2010 - 7:11PM

    Lovely, now my fellow country men do you understand why these people wanted Musharraf to go? It had nothing to do with Democracy, & Rule of law or anything. It was for 2 reasons:

    Corruption
    Biasness of the Judiciary.
    Recommend

  • Asrar Ahmed
    Nov 22, 2010 - 9:15PM

    Get all culprits.
    The Minister, The Secretary religious affairs, DG Hajj and rest. Get a Judicial inquiry done in next 30 days. immidiately change the Minister and Secretary

    Please do not put the nation to shame.

    With humble thanks return the Rial 250 compensation to our dear brother country Saudi Arabia.
    The Saudi Government have been our closest friends.They have stood by people of Pakistan through thick and thin. We love our brothers in SA. Recommend

  • Sabeeh Bin Mohsin
    Nov 22, 2010 - 10:25PM

    Its a shame..Recommend

  • Waqar
    Nov 22, 2010 - 10:47PM

    “Hamid Saeed Kazmi had served a defamation notice against Azam Khan Swati, seeking Rs100 million as compensation for wrongly involving him in the Hajj corruption case.”

    How does Kazmi arrive at this ballpark figure of 100 Million Rs? Asking for this amount says a lot about his character.Recommend

  • Anis Qureshi
    Nov 23, 2010 - 12:02AM

    Its all about barelvi and wahabi clash. Saudis dont like barelvis. It is not strange to see corruption in religious ministry of pures.Recommend

  • Nov 23, 2010 - 7:41AM

    This is something very serious that PM is taking non seriously because He is also involved in this corruption case. Supreme court should now take notice of it and carry out investigations and punish the culprits.Recommend

  • Bilal Godil
    Nov 23, 2010 - 1:13PM

    We have 96 Ministers in Pakistan. If we include China, USA,UK, India the total number of Ministers are 64.
    and Pakistan, so small on world Map have 96 Ministers and shameless, these 96 Ministers cannot handle a country.
    What is this going on? hunger for money? Are we having some corruption challenge? This act hurts me. Our homeland, our Pakistan, we have with our own hands killed our reputation. No one would even spit on us.
    I wish these corrupt people get the most toughest punishment,
    I have no words to describe the Haajis feeling. 8 Km away from Holy Kabah, Do u know how those elderly ladies and children would have felt walking 8 km 10 times a day. 80 Kms for 5 prayers.
    Jaha se paisa mile waha se kha lo,
    They have no fear of anything.
    Deeeply DepressedRecommend

  • akbar
    Nov 24, 2010 - 9:39AM

    What is the need of a religous minister if he cannot make proper supervision of HAJ arrangements !!!!!!!! Recommend

  • M TAUSEEF BARLAS
    Nov 24, 2010 - 12:49PM

    what about 2011 Hajj? Recommend

  • Bilal Godil
    Nov 24, 2010 - 1:30PM

    Like I said We have 96 Ministers. The super power countries like China, USA with almost triple the population of Pakistan have less than 20 Ministers handling the country.
    BUT WE HAVE 96 MINISTERS which cant even handle a small country with endless corruption. Of course these corrupt ministers have to loot and eat all the countries wealth by some way.
    We have a minister for every single thing.
    for Example
    Agriculture. we have two ministers for it. One is for AGRI and the other is for CULTURE. Recommend

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