Supreme Court
A special five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry will start hearing a suo motu case to determine the facts behind the fiasco. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: All main players allegedly involved in the Haj scam will appear before the Supreme Court on Monday as a special five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry will start hearing a suo motu case to determine the facts behind the fiasco.

Over the last few weeks, major players in the scam have been busy in pointing fingers at each other, mainly by issuing statements to media. Therefore, an interesting encounter is expected when they all will be facing each other in person or through their lawyers in front of the highest court of the country.

Former Director General of Haj Directorate, Rao Shakeel Ahmad, who is at present under detention on charges of financial corruption, has accused Secretary of Religious Affairs Agha Sarwar Qazilbash of being responsible for the crisis.

Both these civil servants have been asked to appear in person or through their authorised representatives in the court.

Mr Qazilbash, being the principal accounting officer of the ministry, is also required by the court to bring with him the entire documentary evidence related to the case.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Federal Minister for Science and Technology Muhammad Azam Khan Swati have also been asked by the court to appear before the court and file their replies on the issue.

Mr Swati has accused Mr Kazmi of being involved in financial corruption and Haj mismanagement.

On the other hand, FIA director general who, on instructions of President Asif Ali Zardari, has been conducting a separate inquiry into the Haj issue, will inform the court of the status of his department’s investigations.

Maulana Mohammad Qasim of JUI-F, who led a five-member parliamentary committee which after visiting Saudi Arabia had reported corruption and mismanagement in the Pakistani Haj Directorate, has also been asked to appear before the court with their side of the story.

Moreover, the court has directed the chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit a report whether any case under National Accountability Ordinance 1999 is pending inquiry or trial before any court with progress report against Rao Shakeel Ahmed, the former director general of Haj Directorate.

The Secretary of Establishment will also appear before the court on Monday to produce summary of the appointment of Rao Shakeel Ahmed with details whether any case was pending against him, and if so, then why he was posted as the DG Haj and by whom.

The interior secretary will also submit a report whether the name of Rao Shakeel Ahmed was on the Exit Control List (ECL), and if so, then when and on whose directions his name was removed from the list enabling him to travel outside the country.