Hajj scam: SC directs ministry to compensate pilgrims

Published: January 6, 2011
Court directs Religious Affairs Ministry to repay 7,000 riyals to each of the 25,000 pilgrims within next week.

Court directs Religious Affairs Ministry to repay 7,000 riyals to each of the 25,000 pilgrims within next week.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Religious Affairs Ministry to repay 7,000 riyals to each of the 25,000 pilgrims who had been victims of the Hajj scam. The court gave the ministry a deadline of one week.

A three member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the Hajj scam case on Thursday.

The court criticised DG Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Waseem Ahmed and said he was not taking interest in the case. It also ordered Ahmed to inform the court whether Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani had gone to Saudi Arabia or not.

The Hajj case hearing has now been adjourned till January 11.

Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court, former federal minister Azam Swati accused the federal government of being involved in corruption. “Prime Minister Gilani is the most corrupt man in Pakistan’s 63 year old histrory,” he said. He said he was ready to prove that Gilani appointed corrupt people in the ministry and other institutions involved in the Hajj arrangements.

Earlier last month, a two-member team, comprising Khalid Rasool and Mian Mohammad Sabir, which flew to Saudi Arabia to unearth evidence of irregularities in Hajj affairs, had learnt that learnt that the embezzled amount exceeded Rs200 million, far more than previous estimates of Rs120 million. After scrutinising accounts of tour operators, hotel owners and other officials of the Hajj mission officials, the FIA team concluded that the money had been illegally transferred.

The corruption and irregularities in the Hajj scam which had put an extra burden of Rs35,000 on each pilgrim this year and led to the sacking of former federal minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Azam Swati has sent ripple effects through the political landscape of the country ending up in the JUI-F quiting from the coalition.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • parvez
    Jan 6, 2011 - 12:56PM

    Something wrong here. If the Ministry has to pay then it means money goes from the tax payers pocket. While the looted and plundered amount remains with the crooks.Recommend

  • Moiz
    Jan 6, 2011 - 1:05PM

    SC has taken the right step but compensation should be given to all the pilgrims not only to 25000 pilgrims as corruption was done on whole not just the people suffered through mismanagement.

    Whereas the amount of money issued my KSA is for the people suffered through mismanagement during the hajj pilgrimage.

    Embezzled money should be reclaimed and distributed among all the hajj pilgrims and all the people associated with this inhuman act should be bought to justice, I trust the SC for it.Recommend

  • james bryan
    Jan 6, 2011 - 4:31PM

    it is true that the ministry’s money means the money earned from the tax payers, however, i recently did a research on former minister’s accounts, and there was no evidence of extra amount that would have suggested any corruption was done by him. so who else pays?Recommend

  • Moiz Khan Saifi
    Jan 6, 2011 - 5:53PM

    This type of money don’t go in their ministers own accounts directly, black money is layer so much that it looked white so its not that easy to check their assets and money just through their bank accounts, this type of money go to their relatives accounts, friends accounts and people involved in this inhuman act, they do all this so professionally thats why its not that easy to figure out, let the SC decide.Recommend

  • Jan 6, 2011 - 7:45PM

    i agree to pervaz statmentRecommend

  • Adil
    Jan 7, 2011 - 3:22AM

    It’s time to take a stand. The media and the citizens need to take this to a different level. We can no longer bank roll Gilani or Zardari! Senator Swati is right let’s talk about change in government otherwise they will never let people like Swati support and represent the citizens who suffer!

    Pakistan Paindabad!!Recommend

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