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Three religious leaders jailed in fraud case

June 10, 2008

RAWALPINDI, June 9: A civil judge here on Monday awarded two years imprisonment to two religious leaders and three years to their accomplice for defrauding Chinese Muslims on the pretext of sending them to Haj in 2006, besides directing them to pay Rs1.5 million each to the victims.

The Judge Malik Shafique in his order stated that the accused would remain in jail till they pay off the compensation money.

He also ordered confiscation of their properties and directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) not to release the vehicles of the convicts taken into custody during the investigation.

A few months before Haj in 2006 Abdul Shakoor, who is married with a Chinese woman, convinced 58 Muslims in China to come to Pakistan he would arrange their departure to Saudi Arabia for Haj.

Shakoor in connivance with Allama Ayaz Zaheer Hashmi, President Ulema Mashaikh Wing of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), who contested on a National Assembly seat from Rawalpindi on PML- Q ticket in 2002 and Sahibzada Naeemur Rehman Naeemi, Chairman Pakistan Aman Council, promised these Chinese Muslims to send them Saudi Arabia on special Haj quota with the help of ministry of religious affairs. The accused allegedly obtained $72,000 from these people. But later they were abandoned by the accused in Karachi.

The Chinese returned to Rawalpindi and lodged an FIR under the charges of human trafficking, fraud and deceit was registered against the three accused. The victims also protested in district courts. The accused were arrested by the FIA officials.

Chinese were helped by Rawalpindi Bar Association and lawyers arranged return tickets for them for Haj. The bar pursued the case on behalf of the affected Chinese on humanitarian grounds and the convicts themselves had defended their case.