SC rejects Kazmi’s bail plea in Haj scam

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The Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday the bail applications of former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi and joint secretary Aftab Islam, who are in the custody of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for their alleged involvement in the Haj scam.
A two-member Supreme Court bench, comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, rejected Kazmi’s application after the government, through Additional Attorney General KK Agha, opposed grant of bail and presented a picture of the former federal minister with Ahmed Faiz before the court.
He submitted that Kazmi not only appointed Ahmed Faiz the accommodation in-charge of Haj, but also proposed granting him an official passport. He said Shagufta Jamani, the minister of state at the time, was also involved in the scam.
He said the government had decided in principle to take stern action against the persons involved in corruption and it would not protect dishonest people.
During the hearing, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja asked that if Shagufta was involved in alleged corruption, why she had not been nominated in the case. “What kind of governance this is,” he remarked, adding that those who were supposed to protect the rights of people were involved in corrupt practices.
At the outset of proceedings, Shaukat Ali Mehr and Zulfiqar Abbas Naqvi, counsels for Kazmi and Aftab, contended that an incomplete challan was submitted before the trial court after the investigation, while the trial had not been started so far.
Earlier, the trial court as well as Islamabad High Court (IHC) had rejected their post-arrest bail pleas. Rejecting the bail plea of Kazmi, the IHC had ruled that the appointments of Haj DG Rao Shakeel Ahmed and inspector Ahmed Faiz in Saudi Arabia were made on the directives of Kazmi. It had noted that in the light of arguments and evidences presented before the court, the bail plea could not be admitted.
The FIA had told the trial court that Kazmi had accumulated assets worth more than Rs 30 million while his monthly income was Rs 95,000 only. The investigation agency was against grant of bail with a view that the corruption case had brought a bad name to the country.