Pakistani officials in Saudi Arabia to probe Haj scandalBy Awais Saleem, IANS
Thursday, December 16, 2010
ISLAMABAD - A team of officials from Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) left for Saudi Arabia Thursday to investigate the Haj corruption scandal that led to the sacking of two federal ministers.
The team led by FIA deputy director Khalid Rasool will visit Makkah and Madina to find out the exact situation regarding accommodation provided and the rates charged to the Haj pilgrims.
The team will also hold meetings with the concerned people in Saudi Arabia and record their statements, Dunya TV reported.
“It is believed that the authorities are collecting further evidence against former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi and former secretary of religious affairs Agha Sarwar Raza Qizalbash before formally charging them,” it said.
Hamid Saeed Kazmi and minister for science and technology Azam Khan Swati were sacked by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani a couple of days ago after they traded allegations of corruption against each other while the government found sufficient evidence of malpractice in the entire scam.
The allegations say that the authorities concerned received kickbacks in providing inappropriate living facilities to pilgrims at higher rates.
The pilgrims had also complained that transportation was not provided to them at various locations despite being charged for it.
The Supreme Court has already taken suo moto notice of the Haj corruption scandal and the former Haj director general Rao Shakeel has been remanded to police custody.
As many as 160,000 Pakistani pilgrims had gone to Saudi Arabia this year.