A special court sentenced Ahmed Faiz, one of the accused in Hajj corruption case, behind bar for 30 years on Friday. Special Judge Central Nazeer Ahmad’s court convicted the accused.
The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 40.5 million on the accused. Ahmad Faiz was charged of being front man of former DG Hajj Rao Shakeel.
The court has already sentenced former religious affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi to 16 years in prison in the same case, besides 2 former senior officials of the religious affairs ministry, Aftab Islam and Rao Shakil, who were awarded 16 and 40 years jail term, respectively.
The Hajj scam had surfaced in 2010 after then Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati accused Kazmi, an influential minister in the government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), of his involvement in corruption in the pilgrimage.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu notice of the case after receiving a letter by Saudi Prince Bander Bin Khalid Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud who revealed that Pakistani pilgrims were charged more for the residences rented by the ministry near Makkah and Madina.
He said the concerned ministry had rented residences for pilgrims during Hajj for up to 3,600 riyals while the prices were actually around 1,500 riyals, adding that he had offered lower rates to the ministry but his quotation was rejected.
A total of 35,000 Pakistanis pilgrims were affected due to high charges. Afterwards, a case was registered leading to Kazmi’s arrest on March 15, 2011 but he was granted bail by a Rawalpindi court in August 2012. In its decision in 2013, the Supreme Court had ordered FIA to carry out thorough investigation of this case.