Haj scam – Swati accuses Kazmi in written statement to FIA | Pakistan Today

Haj scam – Swati accuses Kazmi in written statement to FIA

ISLAMABAD: Science and Technology Minister Mohammad Azam Khan Swati on Monday submitted a written statement to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in reference to the Haj corruption case, in which he has accused the minister for Religious Affairs of being involved in the scam. Swati submitted his statement to FIA Director General (DG) Waseem Ahmad, in which he quoted the Religious Affairs secretary as saying that Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi was involved in the Hajj accommodation scam. He said, “My allegations against Hamid Saeed Kazmi, a colleague minister in the federal cabinet, heading the Ministry of Religious Affairs, holding him responsible for the entire fiasco in Hajj arrangements, arise out of my above-stated concern”.
Azam stated that the corruption and mismanagement committed during Hajj 2010 resulted in miseries and disgrace for Pakistani pilgrims, besides tarnishing the image of our government and nation amongst the Muslim Ummah. Swati said that whatever he had done or was doing in this regard was above any personal, political, religious or ethnic considerations. “My purpose is to support and uphold our best national and public interest, the rule of law, the norms of integrity and good governance,” he stated. Swati said that the accusations against Kazmi were not new and had not been made by him alone.
“Ever since he has been heading the Ministry of Religious Affairs, serious allegations of corruption and mismanagement in Hajj arrangements have been raised every now and then,” he said. “These accusations also resonated in responsible forums like both houses of parliament, the standing committees of National Assembly and Senate and even the federal cabinet. Circumstances rather point at Mr Kazmi’s deliberate acts and omissions to facilitate corruption and mismanagement in his ministry, to say the least,” Swati said.
He went on to state, “These circumstances would lead one to conclude that Mr. Kazmi knew or should have necessarily known that corruption was committed or was going to be committed on a gross scale, but he deliberately did not take any action”. Swati said that Rao Shakeel, former Hajj DG, and Ahmed Faiz hired buildings at exorbitant rates ranging from 3,300 Saudi Riyal to SR 3,600. Later, a committee headed by the secretary hired similar buildings in the vicinity for a minimum of SR 1,400 up to a maximum of SR 2,400 – almost half the price at which buildings were hired by Shakeel and Faiz, he added.

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