The Lahore High Court building. – File Photo

LAHORE: Chief Justice Lahore High Court (LHC) Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday directed the Ministry for Religious Affairs to ensure fair distribution of Haj quota to private tour operators, DawnNews reported.

Justice Bandial has been hearing a contempt of court petition against the ministry authorities for ignoring court orders about awarding Haj quota to new tour operators.

During the hearing, Advocate Azhar Siddique, the counsel of the petitioners (new Haj tour operators) told the court that no action had been taken against established tour operators who had violated laws in the past and that only small fines had been imposed upon some tour operators.

Upon which, Justice Bandial said that it was not enough to impose nominal fines on tour operators violating laws.

The court moreover reissued a notice to the Competition Commission of Pakistan for October 1 and directed it to file a reply on the matter.

Earlier in May, the petitioners through Advocate Siddique had submitted before the court that owing to unjust distribution of Haj quota to private tour operators, it had become impossible for a common man to bear Haj expenses. They had said that the Haj policy 2012 had been announced and a plan had been made to dish out quota on personal liking and disliking.

The petitioners had also prayed to the court to cancel the allocation of the quota allegedly based on favouritism and direct the government to associate real stakeholders and non-government associations for bringing transparency in the Haj policies.

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