ISLAMABAD: In an interesting twist to the Hajj scam, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has formally decided to interrogate Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son after they found evidence that he allegedly received a portion of the graft.
Abdul Qadir Gilani allegedly received Rs20 million from former Director-General Hajj Rao Shakil Ahmad and imported a costly vehicle from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last year.
Official sources told The Express Tribune that the decision to interrogate Abdul Qadir Gilani was taken in line with the directions of the Supreme Court (SC) to FIA’s special investigation team to question him in connection with the case.
“We have formally decided to approach him with a questionnaire seeking explanation of various points being sent to him within two-three days,” a senior official said.
According to investigators probing the irregularities committed in the arrangements made for the annual pilgrimage, Abdul Qadir imported a black ‘Toyota Land Cruiser Prado’ paying Rs8.5 million as its import duty last year.
Former DG Hajj Rao Shakil Ahmad, who is already facing court trial on corruption charges, allegedly paid this money to him during import of this bulletproof vehicle, they said.
Shakil had also gifted a vehicle ‘Toyota Sequoia’ (URB5898) to Ahmad Fiaz, a principal character in the Hajj scam, which was purchased against a payment of 123,000 Saudi Riyals from M/s Abdul Jamil of Madinah Road, Jeddah, last year.
The Express Tribune also made several attempts to contact Abdul Qadir Gilani to take his version on the issue but he did not respond. However, Pakistan Peoples Party Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab and senior minister Punjab Tanvir Ashraf Kaira termed it “another attempt” to malign Prime Minister Gilani. “We will comment on the issue as FIA team presents its findings before the SC on next hearing,” they said.
Meanwhile, a civil court in Islamabad issued arrest warrants of former Religious Affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi. An FIA team headed by Hussain Asghar raided his residence in the Ministers Enclave Islamabad but he evaded the arrest,” a senior official of FIA told The Express Tribune.
Besides, FIA teams also raided the former minister’s homes in Lahore and Multan Cantonment but could not arrest him. However, FIA team took some documents into their custody.
Court judge Aslam Gondal issued his arrest warrants. The sitting religious affairs secretary Thursday informed the court that the Hajj affairs ministry has already compensated a majority of pilgrims affected by the scam in the Hajj arrangements.
Meanwhile, the court ordered the religious affairs secretary to frame a fresh transparent Hajj policy.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2011.