FIA to probe Haj complaints

November 19, 2010

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 19: President Asif Ali Zardari has asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to look into complaints about inadequate accommodation arrangements in Makkah for Pakistani pilgrims.

“The president, taking note of reports of huge mismanagement in hiring accommodation and complaints about lack of basic facilities for the pilgrims, has sought a report from the FIA without delay,” president's spokesman Farhatullah Babar said on Friday.

“A number of Hajis have sent complains directly from Makkah to the presidency,” the spokesman said.

The Supreme Court has also taken suo motu notice of a letter from a Saudi prince, Bandar bin Khalid bin Sultan, about alleged embezzlement in renting the accommodation facilities.

Meanwhile, Religious Affairs Minister Sahibzada Hamid Saeed Kazmi has denied allegations regarding sale of 10,000 stolen Haj forms with the connivance of his staff and allocation of quota to ineligible tour operators.

He said that some pilgrims hiring the services of private tour operators had not received visas because of a delay in the issuance of bar-codes by the Saudi government. DEATH SENTENCE: President Zardari has also sought a report from the minorities' affairs ministry on the sentencing to death on blasphemy charges of a Christian woman of Nankana Sahib.

Aasia Bibi was sentenced to death under Sections 295 B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code after an altercation between her and her co-workers over fetching water from fields.

According to media reports, police took her into protective custody to shield her from a mob and later registered a case against her.

The spokesman said the president had asked Minorities Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti to submit a report on the issue within three days.