The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday acquitted former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi in the Haj corruption case, DawnNews reported.

Former director general (DG) of Haj, Rao Shakeel, and former joint secretary religious affairs Aftabul Islam were also let off by the court.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, while hearing the case, accepted the accused's appeals and issued acquittal orders for Kazmi, Shakeel and Aftab.

Previously, Kazmi and Aftab had been sentenced to 16 years jail time each, while Rao Shakeel had been handed 40 years. The three convicts were also ordered to pay a penalty of Rs150 million each.

The Haj corruption scandal, which rocked the national political scene between 2010 and 2012, had led to the dismissal of both Kazmi and Azam Swati from the federal cabinet.

The minister and other religious affairs officials were accused of hiring a substandard building on exorbitant rent (for housing Pakistani pilgrims in Makkah) and receiving kickbacks in the process.

The former also spent nearly two years in prison over charges of irregularities in the 2009 Haj operation.

Kazmi was subsequently indicted on charges of corruption in the case on May 30, 2012, to which he pleaded not guilty.

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