Hamid Saeed ....

Pakistan Observer - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

court has is­sued de­tailed judg­ment con­sist­ing on 81 pages.

The court in its judg­ment said the con­victs set worst kind of cor­rup­tion ex­am­ple on the name of Hajj. The court said the con­victs in­vented new method of loot­ing the peo­ple. The court in its judg­ment said the Hu­j­jaj stage sit-in at Mina which earned bad name for Pak­istan. The court said the pub­lic con­fi­dence was also dam­aged in the re­sult of con­victs’ worst ac­tion.

The court de­liv­ered its rul­ing af­ter six years of hear­ings into the hajj scan­dal. Spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor of the Fed­eral In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (FIA) and other con­cerned of­fi­cials were present in the court when the judg­ment was is­sued.

Deputy Di­rec­tor FIA Waseem Ah­mad Ran­jha and lawyer Chaudhry Azhar rep­re­sented the FIA dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings of the case.

The sus­pects were ac­cused of be­ing in­volved in fi­nan­cial em­bez­zle­ment and cor­rup­tion with re­gard to the 2010 Hajj ar­range­ments.

All three con­victs were ar­rested within the court’s lim­its by the Fed­eral In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (FIA) and were shifted in Adyala Jail. The ac­cused while show­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion over the court ver­dict have an­nounced to chal­lenge the ver­dict in high court. Talk­ing to a pri­vate TV chan­nel af­ter the hear­ing Hamid Saeed Kazmi said he will chal­lenge the ver­dict in Is­lam­abad High Court.

On the oc­ca­sion Rao Sha­keel said Almighty Al­lah will jus­tice in the case.

Rao Sha­keel said that he was not sat­is­fied with the court’s judg­ment and had full faith in the Almighty.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion team was led by for­mer FIA di­rec­tor and cur­rent Ad­di­tional In­spec­tor Gen­eral Pun­jab Hus­sain As­ghar. The fi­nal chal­lan was filed in 2012 by Ghaz­an­far Ab­bas, an FIA in­ves­ti­ga­tion of­fi­cer.

Be­tween 2010 and 2012, the Haj cor­rup­tion scan­dal rocked the na­tional po­lit­i­cal scene and led to the de­par­ture of both Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Azam Swati from the fed­eral cabi­net.

The for­mer also spent nearly two years in pri­son over charges of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the 2009 Hajj op­er­a­tion.

The for­mer re­li­gious af­fair min­is­ter was slapped with al­le­ga­tions of in­volve­ment in the Hajj cor­rup­tion scan­dal and in­flict­ing huge losses to the na­tional cof­fers two years ago. Af­ter which a case was reg­is­tered lead­ing to Kazmi’s ar­rest on March 15, 2011.

Kazmi was sub­se­quently in­dicted on charges of cor­rup­tion in the case on May 30, 2012, to which he pleaded not guilty.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet is­sued to Kazmi, DG Haj Rao Sha­keel and Raja Aftabul Is­lam, the men were in­dicted for fraud, cheat­ing, mis­use of au­thor­ity, and caus­ing losses to the na­tional ex­che­quer and the pub­lic at large.

Specif­i­cally, they were ac­cused of hir­ing a sub­stan­dard build­ing on ex­or­bi­tant rent (for hous­ing the pil­grims in Makkah) and re­ceiv­ing kick­backs in the process.

Kazmi was ac­cused of cor­rup­tion dur­ing the course of rent­ing res­i­den­tial build­ings for Pak­istani pil­grims in Saudi Ara­bia and in­flict­ing a loss of bil­lions of ru­pees to the na­tional ex­che­quer. A case was reg­is­tered against him and he was ar­rested on March 15, 2011.

Ac­cord­ing to FIA’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions, the for­mer min­is­ter dropped more than 7,000 pil­grims and hired ac­com­mo­da­tion for gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. “The of­fi­cials did not stay in the ac­com­mo­da­tion hired in Saudi Ara­bia, which caused a loss of Rs200 mil­lion to the na­tional ex­che­quer,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the FIA, Kazmi’s to­tal in­come was Rs95,000 of which Rs80,000 was his salary as the min­is­ter and Rs15,000 he earned from his madrassa lo­cated in Mul­tan. Kazmi also owns 314 canals of land in Rahim Yar Khan and op­er­ates for­eign ac­counts.

A Rawalpindi court granted him bail on Au­gust 27, 2012. How­ever in Fe­bru­ary 2013, FIA in­ves­ti­ga­tors and pros­e­cu­tors filed a re­quest with the spe­cial judge in the Cen­tral Rawalpindi Court.

FIA In­ves­ti­ga­tors claimed to have found more ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing bank trans­ac­tions against Kazmi.

Con­sid­er­ing the se­ri­ous na­ture of the col­lected ev­i­dence and fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties, FIA Di­rec­tor Hus­sain As­ghar re­quested for Kazmi’s non-bail­able ar­rest.

In pre­vi­ous hear­ings, Pak­istan Mus­lim League-N MNA Im­ran Ahmed Shah also al­leged that Ab­dul Qadir Gi­lani, the son of for­mer Prime Min­is­ter, Yousaf Raza Gi­lani, “smug­gled” a bul­let­proof Land Cruiser from Dubai in 2009 as part of the fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in­volved in the scam.

Qadir Gi­lani how­ever, re­fused to co­op­er­ate with the agency and in­ves­ti­ga­tors.—SABAH

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