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Arrest warrants for witnesses in Haj case

July 06, 2012

RAWALPINDI, July 6: A special court of Rawalpindi on Friday issued bailable arrest warrants for three Pakistani officials currently working in Pakistans High Commission in Saudi Arabia as they did not appear for recording testimonies in Haj corruption case.

Special Judge central Khalid Shabbir on June 29 summoned Mohammad Riaz, Abdul Rashid and Mohammad Yasin, the officials of ministry of religions affairs attached with the Haj mission in the Pakistans High Commission in Saudi Arabia.

According to the prosecution, the officials had transferred the ill-gotten money of former director general Hajj Rao Shakeel from Saudia Arabia to Pakistan and they will appear as prosecution witnesses in the case. The court on Friday recorded statements of two prosecution witnesses Mohammad Mushtaq and Mohammad Aslam.

Mushtaq told the court that he worked as stenographer with Rao Shakeel and transferred 25,000 riyals to his accounts. Aslam a cashier at Pakistans mission in Jeddah also told the court that he transferred 10,000 riyals to the accounts of Shakeel’s relative.

FIA special prosecutor Ch Zulfiqar Ali told the court that they had received complete record of 87 buildings from Pakistans mission in Jeddah and would be produced in the court on next date of hearing. The buildings were hired by Rao Shakeel and Aftabul Islam Raja, joint secretary ministry of religious affairs.

FIA prosecutor Ali told Dawn that he had examined the record of the buildings which found Rao Shakeel and Aftabul Islam involved in the corruption. He said the 87 buildings were substandard but the accused paid exorbitant rent in order to get kickbacks.

The court also issued summons for three prosecution witnesses including senator Saleh Shah, deputy secretary Khursheed Anwar Shah and a section officer of religious affairs ministry and adjourned the hearing till July 13.

He said the officials of Pakistans Haj mission at Jeddah, whose arrest warrants have been issued, were subordinates of Rao Shakeel and transferred his ill-gotten money to different bank accounts in Pakistan as it was not possible for Shakeel to transfer such a huge amount from his own bank account to Pakistan.

According to him, if the witnesses do not come to Pakistan for recording testimonies, the court would pass order to stop their salaries, remove them from service and could initiate contempt of court proceedings against them for ignoring its orders.