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Text of SC order in Haj arrangements scam

ISLAMABAD: The public relations officer of the Supreme Court in a press release Saturday issued the following text of the court order along with other relevant letters in the Haj corruption case heard by a six-member bench on Friday.

“SC HEARS HUMAN RIGHTS CASES NO.57701-P, 57719-G, 57754-P, 58152-P, 59036-S, 59060-P, 54187-P & 58118-K OF 2010 & SMC 24 OF 2010 (Regarding Corruption In Hajj Arrangements In 2010.)

A six member bench headed by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice of Pakistan and comprising other members namely Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal, Mr. Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Mr. Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Mr. Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa & Mr. Justice Ghulam Rabbani heard the Suo Motu Case No. 24 of 2010 and Human Rights Cases No.57701-P, 57719-G, 57754-P, 58152-P, 59036-S, 59060-P, 54187-P & 58118-K of 2010 regarding Corruption in Hajj Arrangements in 2010.

The senior lawyers, Government Officers & FIA Officers appeared in this case. The case was heard on 08.04.2011 and the bench passed the following order:-

Syed Jawed Ali Shah Bokhari, Additional Director, FIA has submitted the following special report:-

“IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKSITAN

(Original jurisdiction)

SUO MOTO CASE NO.24/2010

SPECIAL REPORT ON BEHALF OF FEDERAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY IN CASE FIR NO.05/2010 DATED 12.11.2010 U/S-409/109/34/3/4-PPC R/W 5(2)47-PCA P/S FIA/SIU ISLAMABAD (HAJJ) SCAM).

Respectfully Sheweth:

During investigation of the subject case, following recoveries have been affected from the persons mentioned below out of total amount of Rs.36,486,970/-

1. Malik Riaz Hussain of Bahria Town Pvt. Ltd has deposited a post-dated cheque No.0191738, dated 15.04.2011 amounting to Rs.2,552,416/- in the name of M/o Religious Affairs for the expenses incurred on accommodation of 32 employees of Bahria Town, who stayed in the building hired by M/o Religious Affairs in Madina Munawara & Makkah Mokarma, KSA in the year 2009.

2. Malik Riaz Hussain of Bahria Town Pvt. Ltd has also deposited a post dated cheque No.0191739, dated 15.04.2011 amounting to Rs.644,000/- in the name of M/o Religious Affairs for the expenses incurred on accommodation of 56 employees of Bahria Town who stayed in the buildings hired by M/o Religious Affairs in Madina Munawara, KSA in the year 2010.

3. Haji Muhammad Nawaz Khokhar, Ex-MNA has deposited a cheque No.3184233 dated 08.04.2011 amounting to Rs.2,208,000/- in the name of M/o Religious Affairs, for the expenses incurred on accommodation of 192 private persons who stayed in the building hired by M/o Religious Affairs in Madina Munawara, KSA in the year 2010. He paid said amount as donation.

Thus a recovery of Rs.5,404,416/- (out of Rs.36,486,970/-) has been affected so far. However, further efforts are being made for the recovery of remaining amount of Rs.31,082,554/-

Report is submitted, please.

Sd/-

(SYED JAWED ALI SHAH BUKHARI)

QPM, PPM PSP

ADDITIONAL DIRECTOR GENERAL, FIA 08.04.2011

2. When we enquired from the Additional Director General, FIA about the status of the amount which was recovered from Malik Riaz Hussain of Bahria Town and Haji Muhammad Nawaz Khokhar, he stated that the amount belonged to the Ministry of Religious Affairs which spent as some of the persons who availed accommodation in Saudi Arabia (Makkah and Madina) free of cost as were sponsored by them. The Additional Director General stated that Malik Riaz Hussain deposited the aforementioned amount whereas Haji Muhammad Nawaz Khokhar had given as donation on their behalf. A list of the persons on whose behalf the amount was deposited has, however, not been filed. When the Additional Director General, FIA was questioned as to whether the amount so recovered was not a misappropriated amount belonging to the national exchequer and as to why action was not taken against both of them, he had no answer except offering lame excuses. The same are not acceptable. The Additional Director General, FIA further stated that in fact an amount of Rs.3,64,00,000/- was due against such Hujjaj, who were sponsored by different Authorities and their Hajj was arranged through Ministry of Interior and in respect whereof a letter was, therefore, sent to them for the recovery of the amount. The Additional Director General, FIA, in order to support his contention, stated that initially one Javed Iqbal Raja, PSO to Minister for Interior had written a letter to Ministry of Religious Affairs on 8th November, 2010, contents whereof are reproduced as under:-

“No.1/PS/MI/2010

Government of Pakistan

Ministry of Interior

Islamabad, dated 8/11/2010

FROM: JAVED IQBAL RAJA

PSO TO MINSTER FOR INTERIOR

ISLAMABAD.

TO: MR. AFTAB UL ISLAM RAJA

JOINT SECRETARY (HAJJ)

M/O RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS

ISLAMABAD.

Subject: Arrangement for Slot at Jeddah airport for Flight number PK 7412/10-11-2010

Kindly refer to telephonic conversation of date and in continuation of letter of even number dated 08/11/2010 on the subject noted above and to inform that:

1. Payment of airfare will be made to PIA directly as per advice of MD PIA

2. The compulsory hajj charges have been paid in shape of pay order/draft and are attached with the each passport.

3. The charges of accommodation at MAKKAH and MADINA will be paid to Ministry of Religious Affairs for which the details are required.

It is therefore requested that necessary further action may kindly be taken under intimation to this office.

Sd/-

JAVED IQBAL RAJA

PSO TO MINSTER FOR INTERIOR

The Additional Director General, FIA stated that although in the above letter liability was admitted by the Ministry of Interior but subsequently another letter was sent wherein the Ministry of Religious Affairs was made responsible for the recovery of the amount spent upon the Hujjaj/pilgrims, sponsored by different functionaries, contents of this letter are also reproduced herein below:-

“No.1/1/2011/MI

Government of Pakistan

Ministry of Interior

Islamabad, 26 February 2011

Mr. Juma Khan,

Account Officer (H-II),

Ministry of Religious Affairs,

Islamabad.

Subject: SUO MOTO NOTICE NO.24/2010, SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN-HAJJ SCAM-HAJJ CORRUPTION CASE FIR NO.5/2010, SIU-FIA, ISLAMABAD-AUDIT REPORT 2009 AND MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION.

Reference Ministry of Religious Affairs, Islamabad’s letter No.10 (5) 1428-Misc. dated 01 February, 2011 regarding accommodation for 200 pilgrims in 2009 that have wrongly been attributed to have been sponsored by Ministry of Interior.

2. I would like to state that Ministry of Interior, at no point, had ever requested for the accommodation for the visiting journalists without payment. This was the duty of the Hajj Directorate not to allow the entry of the Hujjaj in question without having charged them as per existing rules. To the best of my knowledge the Hujjaj in question went to perform Hajj on the quota of Saudi Ambassador and this Ministry had only facilitated their departure. If there is any recovery pending with the Hujjaj in question, that may be realized from the individuals because this Ministry has never requested as such to condone or allow anybody without payment.

3. This disposes the letter under reference and this office letter No.1/10/2009/MI dated 19.11.2009.

Sd/-

JAVED IQBAL RAJA

PSO TO MINSTER FOR INTERIOR

Copy for information to Mr. Khalid Rasool, Deputy Director, FIA, Islamabad.

The Additional Director General, FIA further stated that a list of all those persons, against whom this amount is due, was obtained and steps were being taken for effecting the recovery. It may prima facie be noted that it can conveniently be held that no one is authorized under any law to utilize the government money without any legal justification and if the Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Religious Affairs or any person whosoever he may be, has done that he is equally responsible and is liable for the criminal action. The Additional Director General, FIA is directed to proceed against all of them immediately and ensure to effect the recovery by the next date by using all of his legal resources available in the shape of manpower spread over throughout in the country who are employees/representatives of the FIA.

3. We also note that no progress has been made for causing the arrest of Ahmed Faiz. It is only informed that some property, allegedly owned by him situated in Sialkot, has been attached. The Additional Director General, FIA is directed to accelerate his efforts for causing his arrest to bring him back to Pakistan for the purpose of investigation as early as possible.

4. So far as the question of involvement of Muhammad Ismail Qureshi, former Secretary Establishment, in appointment of Shakeel Ahmed Rao, Ex-Director General Hajj is concerned, the machinery has been put into motion to commence the investigation in this behalf. However, during hearing it has transpired that the Government of Pakistan, Cabinet Secretariat, Establishment Division vide letter dated 2nd March, 2009 had laid down the criteria for the selection of Director General Hajj. The candidate Officers interested for the selection were to be examined by a Committee headed by the Secretary Religious Affairs. It included one Joint Secretary from Establishment Division and another Joint Secretary from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the name of Shakeel Ahmed Rao was recommended by this Committee. However, in the Establishment Division a note was submitted by one S. M. Tahir, the then Joint Secretary Establishment Division who had also prepared the Working Paper. There appears certain contradictions in the documents prepared in this connection. As far as noting portion is concerned, it finds mention that Mr. Shakeel Ahmed Rao is not qualified on account of his age which allegedly was found tampered by him as according to service record his date of birth was 19.12.1952 whereas by tampering he showed it as 25.12.1954 as per his unsigned C.V. Similarly, pendency of criminal cases/inquiries before the NAB was also mentioned in this document but surprisingly in the Working Paper, Mr. S. M. Tahir did not mention about these two disqualifications. He has made statement under section 164 Cr.P.C. contending therein that Mr. Muhammad Ismail Qureshi, the then Secretary Establishment had asked him not to disclose this fact as he himself would bring it into the notice of the Members of the Special Selection Board. On account of such contradictions, visible on record, the Additional Director General, FIA is directed to look into the matter himself instead of depending upon his junior officers. At this stage, it is, therefore, ordered that in pursuance of our order dated 24.3.2011, so far as Mr. Ismail Qureshi is concerned, he shall not be arrested till further orders.

5. So far as Zain Iftikhar Sukhera is concerned, investigation is going on and he has tendered his resignation and one portion of his salary has been deposited, whereas, the balance is to be recovered. It is informed that he has filed a petition before the Islamabad High Court for quashment of FIR No.1/2011. The Islamabad High Court is said to have postponed its hearing for a date in office and in the meanwhile direction has been given not to arrest him.

To be continued

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