Hajj corruption case: Former federal minister sentenced to 16 years in prison

Published: June 3, 2016
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DG Hajj Rao Shakeel, former additional sec religious affairs Aftab Ahmed, sentenced to 40 and 16 years, respectively. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

DG Hajj Rao Shakeel, former additional sec religious affairs Aftab Ahmed, sentenced to 40 and 16 years, respectively. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: A special court on Friday, sentenced former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi to 16 years in prison, Express News reported.

Along with Kazmi, Director General (DG) Hajj Rao Shakeel was sentenced to 40 years and former additional secretary religious affairs Aftab Ahmed was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Hajj corruption case: ‘Front man paid 2.7m riyals to hire buildings’

Following the court hearing, the accused were taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The three have been given the right to appeal.

Kazmi was accused of corruption during the course of renting residential buildings for Pakistani pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and inflicting a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer. A case was registered against him and he was arrested on March 15, 2011.

According to FIA’s investigations, the former minister dropped more than 7,000 pilgrims and hired accommodation for government officials. “The officials did not stay in the accommodation hired in Saudi Arabia, which caused a loss of Rs200 million to the national exchequer,” he said.

Hajj scam: Hamid Saeed Kazmi released on bail

According to the FIA, Kazmi’s total income was Rs95,000 of which Rs80,000 was his salary as the minister and Rs15,000 he earned from his madrassa located in Multan. Kazmi also owns 314 canals of land in Rahim Yar Khan and operates foreign accounts.

A Rawalpindi court granted him bail on August 27, 2012. However in February 2013, FIA investigators and prosecutors filed a request with the special judge in the Central Rawalpindi Court.

FIA Investigators claimed to have found more evidence, including bank transactions against Kazmi.

Hajj scam case: FIA director demands arrest of Hamid Saeed Kazmi

Considering the the serious nature of the collected evidence and financial irregularities, FIA Director Hussain Asghar requested for Kazmi’s non-bailable arrest.

In previous hearings, Pakistan Muslim League-N MNA Imran Ahmed Shah also alleged that Abdul Qadir Gilani, the son of former Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani,  “smuggled” a bulletproof Land Cruiser from Dubai in 2009 as part of the financial irregularities involved in the scam.

Qadir Gilani however, refused to cooperate with the agency and investigators.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • tak
    Jun 3, 2016 - 11:29AM

    good. atleast someone is being taken to task for corruption. i believe we should have a seperate ministry to check on corruption. its eating away our beautiful country. see where we are heading. SC i request you to take stern action against corroption and other ills in society so it sets an example. Recommend

  • Jun 3, 2016 - 11:51AM

    heartiest congratulations to FIA which pursued this case with hard work and dedication that brought these heartless criminals to their ultimate end.Recommend

  • MUNIB
    Jun 3, 2016 - 12:00PM

    Good. Thats how democracy will strengthen and the trust of people will be restored. Recommend

  • Fahim
    Jun 3, 2016 - 12:01PM

    It is not specified how much corruption Kazmi has made. Even if it was recovered or this case is processed only on request of prince of saudi arabiaRecommend

  • Wasif
    Jun 3, 2016 - 12:51PM

    Just wow

    Qadir Gilani however, refused to
    cooperate with the agency and
    investigators.

    Recommend

  • Insider
    Jun 3, 2016 - 12:55PM

    What about the mastermind behind this scandal? Abdul Qadir Gillani, son of ex PM? Will he be prosecuted and arrested. I don’t think so !!Recommend

  • Jun 3, 2016 - 12:57PM

    Good. If rich/poor people in the society treated equally, then people will start believing in system.Recommend

  • mirza
    Jun 3, 2016 - 1:01PM

    GOOD, Very Good news all corrupt politicians should be sent to jail, let them know that corruption is bad. Politician should behave more reponsibly. Courts should be very very hard with them. No mercy.Recommend

  • PakPower
    Jun 3, 2016 - 1:11PM

    @Fahim:
    I am sure the court was in a better position to assess the evidence than you ever will. And for your information, a person with 95,000 PKR income doesn’t generally operate foreign bank accounts.Recommend

  • Shan
    Jun 3, 2016 - 1:12PM

    Good News Pakistan that a top accountability will push corruption down. Recommend

  • Ishrat Salim
    Jun 3, 2016 - 1:30PM

    Had the prince not involved as complainant this case was dead. And what happened to the front man Firoz ? Recommend

  • Punjabi
    Jun 3, 2016 - 2:39PM

    Why couldn’t Kazmi get a ‘severe displeasure’ and a holiday in Dubai?
    Maybe just because he is a civilian and civilians pay in blood i.e. 14 years for corruption (not murder). Recommend

  • Libra
    Jun 3, 2016 - 2:56PM

    When the looted money of poor people of Pakistan shall be recovered? Why not the then PM is also booked who supported this culprit tooth and nail.Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Jun 3, 2016 - 3:24PM

    We can only hope and pray that these thugs are not given

    “relief” by higher courts or the thuggery governments.Recommend

  • pervaiz
    Jun 3, 2016 - 3:33PM

    This is Good. Nw everyone can believe of justice in Pakistan/ Hopefully all big hands behind this scandal should also be brought into net of justice. Congratulation to FIA and judiciary.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 3, 2016 - 3:58PM

    Good job. We want every corrupt, anarchist and fake revolutionary thug behind bars. Those who spend millions of others should also be prosecuted and punished. Recommend

  • z
    Jun 3, 2016 - 4:32PM

    Well Done FIA and federal government. Great Job. I wish other provinces and KPK’s accountability commission in particular could also show same courage.Recommend

  • Tak
    Jun 3, 2016 - 4:33PM

    Great work chaudary Nisar and his team. Because of ppl like u we still have faith in the system. Let’s all make him the pac public accounts committee head. He seems to be a clean man. Let’s promote and support clean ppl. Recommend

  • Riz
    Jun 3, 2016 - 4:58PM

    Why Gillani’s sons were not charged?Recommend

  • OSD
    Jun 3, 2016 - 5:05PM

    @Fahim: it can be inferred that they falsely hired accommodation which was not used and then embezzled the disbursed amount. But the interesting part is that, while the previous government clearly indulged in corruption to such an extent that even the Haj was not sparred, the enlightened opposition only attacked the PMLN. I’m not complaining but it does automatically provide protection to the actual culprits which then leverage their position. Recommend

  • Hameed
    Jun 3, 2016 - 5:45PM

    Weaker person got punished stronger parties of any side still safe with offshore accounts.

    In Pakistan only weak get punished and only strong get their rights.Recommend

  • Luqman Hafeez
    Jun 3, 2016 - 6:56PM

    Now wait for the High Court to step in, grant him bail, and announce a verdict in another 5 years, reducing his sentence to 2 years. Then an appeal in the Supreme Court will further take another 3 years and sentence the minister and officials would be freed honorably. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jun 3, 2016 - 9:45PM

    Good to see that the judiciary is good a little of what it’s supposed to do……now let’s hope political patronage does not undo this.Recommend

  • Sobiya Asad
    Jun 3, 2016 - 10:56PM

    Umm yes it’s a remarkable catch, but they are dragged to cage because they don’t seem politically strong hence ended up in prison. Rest are still continue with the same business! Recommend

  • NHA
    Jun 3, 2016 - 11:18PM

    This is ultimate indictment of Zardari era and his regime. Recommend

  • Fahim
    Jun 4, 2016 - 12:30AM

    @PakPower:
    I have about same salary and I am operating a foreign account Recommend

  • zaheer
    Jun 4, 2016 - 12:49AM

    The sentence of former minister is the reality of what PPP government did during its tenure from 2008 to 2013. The interesting thing is one of the accused is already in NAB custody which clearly proves how corrupt these culprits are. I can’t forget what the former minister and his close aides did fearlessly during Haj in 2009. But the real issue is these corrupt persons will soon get bail. In our country democracy means corruption as we have witnessed in the last government and also similarly in the present govt too (Panama Leaks). One thing we are still missing is the issue of recovery from those corrupt people who are involved in mega scandals. Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Jun 4, 2016 - 2:00AM

    Never believe madrasa and beard walas. This corrupt person did not spare the Hajis visiting house of GOD. Hope Higher Courts will not reverse the sentence.Recommend

  • F Khan
    Jun 4, 2016 - 9:35AM

    This is YRG cabinet hajj minister leave the rest.It is not difficult to understand why PPP was not re-elected.They say that Raja who had a shorter stint was a bigger champion then YRG.May God save us from PPP.Recommend

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