Hamid Saeed ....
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