The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday issued notice to the Religious Affairs Ministry for September 12 on an application submitted by 124 pilgrims to become party in a case against the ministry’s move to halt the processing of their applications.
Acting Chief Justice Shaikh Azmat Saaed issued the order while hearing a petition by Muhammad Qasim, one of the directors of a private Hajj tour operator.
On Friday, Deputy Attorney General Zia Qamar Bhatti told the court that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had initiated an inquiry on Qasim’s complaint.
The petitioner through his counsel, Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, argued that the Hajj tours companies were constituted under the Companies Ordinance, 1984 and only a court of law could resolve a dispute among directors of a company.
Advocate Siddique said that Qasim held 50 per cent shares in the company, while the three other directors jointly owned the rest of 50 per cent.
He argued that the ministry had no right to interfere in the internal affairs of the company.
The petitioner said that his company had deposited Rs3 million in the ministry’s account as processing fee and filed 124 applications of pilgrims for approval. The petitioner pointed out that it had also paid Pakistan International Airlines for the tickets.
However, he said, on a complaint by one of the directors of the company, the ministry had stopped the processing of these applications.
The company requested the court to stop the ministry from interfering in the company’s matters and direct it to approve the applications on merit.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011.