LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday allowed 102 Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs) to participate in the bidding for the allocation of Hajj quota and appointed the president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association Rawalpindi chapter to monitor the bidding to be held on July 11. The chief justice also barred the Ministry of Religious Affairs from making payments to chartered accountants hired for verification of HGOs till the next hearing. The chief justice was hearing a set of petitions filed by newly-enrolled HGOs challenging the process of allocation of Hajj quota by the ministry. Representing the petitioners, Advocate Azhar Siddique argued that the ministry was not awarding quota on merit. He said most operators on the list had no previous experience and some of them did not even own offices. He questioned the payments being made to chartered accountants, saying that the ministry was wasting national resources. He said that the ministry was paying Rs3,000 to accountants for verification of each company. The chief justice adjourned the case till July 12.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.
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