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Haj quota issue: Ministry official offers apology

July 09, 2012


The Lahore High Court building. – File Photo

LAHORE: Joint secretary religious affairs Sher Ali on Monday offered the Lahore High Court (LHC) a conditional apology for accusing the court of being partial in the Haj corruption case, DawnNews reported.

Chief Justice LHC Umar Atta Bandial heard the case.

Justice Bandial said that “one should think it through at least ten times before terming the court’s judgments as ‘partial’.”

“The court was performing its duties in accordance with the constitution,” he added.

The LHC CJ remarked that the tax-law was weak in the country and that people evade taxes worth millions of rupees by paying nominal bribes.

Last week, Justice Bandial issued a show-cause notice to the joint secretary for criticising the court while hearing contempt petitions against the ministry regarding the allocation of Haj quota.

Joint Secretary Sher Ali, who appeared to be annoyed with the court’s proceedings on the quota issue, submitted his written reply to the LHC.

In the reply, he stated that the public approached the courts without a reason and the court summoned ministry officials despite allocation of Haj quota on merit. He had stated that the court’s proceedings hampered with the smooth functioning of the ministry.

Justice Bandial had taken notice of the bureaucrat’s ‘derogatory’ remarks and ordered the security officials to take him into judicial custody. The LHC CJ had remarked that such officers tarnished the image of government institutions.

The contempt of court petitions were filed by new tour operators who complained about discrimination on the part of the ministry in awarding quota.

They said the court in its earlier order had directed the ministry to also allocate Haj quota among the new tour operators. But the ministry ignored the order and awarded quota to previously registered operators only, they said.

LHC reserved the verdict in the case and subsequently adjourned the hearing for a week.