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Hajj Corruption in Pakistan

Pakistani Senator Mr. Latif Khosa, the counsel of Hamid Saeed Kazmi had an objection over Azam Khan Swati saying that as a cabinet minister he was a party in the corruption and demanded a resignation from him.

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Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry wondered as to why Azam Swati should resign while the accused Hamid Saeed Kazmi was resigning. Justice Ramday said that the ministry should have returned one thousand (1000) Riyals besides other compensations as clearly brought in to court. He said that the accused would be penalized and punished.

On 14th December 2010 Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani terminated Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Azam Swati from their portfolios following the dispute involving hajj scandal and a clash between the two ministers over Hajj Corruption case. Hamid Saeed Kazmi, the former Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, was arrested following the cancellation of his bail plea by a Special Court in Rawalpindi, Punjab province.

Judge Suhail Nasir determined that Kazmi was directly involved in the case and dismissed his bail application. FIA arrested the former minister in the courtroom after the judge’s ruling. FIA already submitted an application with the court in order to seek authorization for the arrest of Kazmi. The document indicated that the former minister is needed for further investigation on the Hajj corruption case.

Kazmi has denied his alleged involvement in the case and claimed that he was dragged into the Hajj arrangements scandal on political grounds. The former minister said that the accusations against him were false and fabricated.

The Hajj corruption case involved officials of the Pakistan Hajj operations and Saudi Arabia operators in a scheme to defraud intending pilgrims. FIA alleges that Kazmi was the leader of the corruption case. The Pakistani officials requested the Saudi operators to overcharge Hajj pilgrims, to book residential buildings rather than hotel rooms, among other things. Approximately, 85,000 pilgrims paid an extra $20 under the scheme.


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