Pakistani bigwigs selling Haj quotas: report


Islamabad : Pakistani politicians and officials who were given Haj quotas to recommend people of their choice this year have instead been selling these in the open market, a media report Thursday said.

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Some 3,000 forms were distributed among sitting MPs of the government and the opposition parties, the four provincial governors, the chairman of the Senate, the speaker of the National Assembly and federal ministers.

The beneficiaries were not to be subjected to the balloting process for the selection of Hajis for 2007.

According to The News, its sources “have claimed that some MPs were using their trusted men to find suitable parties to buy the forms. They apparently need the money desperately for their forthcoming elections. Instead of obliging political supporters, these parliamentarians were trying to mint some money”.

A provincial governor can recommend 25 people of his choice to the ministry of religious affairs for performing Haj. A federal minister, and the presiding officers of the two houses of parliament have a quota of 10 each.

Each of the 342 National Assembly members and 100 Senators get five seats each.

“But now, all of a sudden, complaints have started pouring that (the recommendation) forms were being sold in the market. Even the staff of certain top leaders was involved in selling the forms,” The News said.

Federal Secretary for Religious Affairs Wakil Ahmed Khan confirmed he had received complaints that the forms were being sold in the open market, but refused to reveal the names of the MPs involved.