A post-arrest bail request by former Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi, imprisoned at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for his alleged involvement in the Hajj fraud case, was rejected by a court on Thursday.
Kazmi was arrested on March 15. He is accused of using his position to defraud Pakistani pilgrims who went to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.
At the hearing, Kazmi’s lawyer, Sardar Naseer, argued that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been unable to provide concrete evidence against his client.
Naseer pointed out that the alleged fraud took place in fiscal year 2009 whereas Kazmi was accused in 2010 which, according to Naseer, suggests that his client has no connection to the case.
“The land was given to him as a gift by the people of the area where Kazmi will establish a university,” said Naseer, referring to the land that Kazmi is accused of acquiring with the funds he allegedly misappropriated.
Meanwhile, the FIA’s prosecutor in the case, Naseem Butt, argued that Kazmi was closely associated with Ahmed Fiaz, the principal accused in the case who is still at large. The FIA is continuing its investigation into the case, said Butt, adding that they expected to find further evidence of Kazmi’s involvement.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2011.