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Hajj Corruption Scandal: Court acquits former minister Kazmi

Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday has acquitted former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi, former Director General Hajj Rao Shakeel and Joint Secretary for Religious Affairs Aftab ul Islam in Hajj corruption case.

IHC judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani announced verdict of the corruption case filed against former minister and others.

Last year, special court indicted Kazmi and others in the case; the minister was sentenced to 16-years in prison, DG Hajj Rao Shakeel sentenced to 40 years in jail. The accused were also fined with heavy amount of Rs.15 million.

The lower court also gave sixteen year prison to Joint Secretary for religious affairs.

During the last regime of Pakistan Peoples Party, in 2010, the religious affairs minister and other were under allegations of involvement in Hajj corruption causing huge loss to the national exchequer. About 35,000 pilgrims were severely affected due to high charges.

The accused faced allegations for hiring sub standard buildings at exorbitant rents.

A case was registered leading to Kazmi’s arrest on March 15, 2011. Later, he was indicted on charges on May 30, 2012 to which he pleaded not guilty.

Former minister, ex DG Hajj and former JS were indicted for fraud, cheating and misuse of authority.