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Pak’s former federal minister sentenced 16 years in prison for Haj corruption case


Karachi : Pakistan’s former federal minister for religious affairs, Hamid Saeed Kazmi, was sentenced to 16 years in jail for the Haj corruption case on Friday.

Judge Malik Nazir Ahmad from special court central, a lower court, also sentenced Director General (DG) Haj Rao Shakeel to 40 years in prison and Joint secretary for religious affairs Aftab Aslam was also sentenced to 16 years, reports Dawn.

After the sentence was pronounced, Kazmi and Aftab were arrested from the court premises and escorted to Adiala Jail by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials, while Shakeel is already in custody of the National Accountability Bureau in Lahore, reports Dawn.

The verdict was announced after cross-examination of 60 witnesses presented by the prosecution which concluded last week.

According to reports, between 2010 and 2012, the Haj corruption scandal rocked the national political scene and led to the departure of both Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Azam Swati from the federal cabinet.

Kazmi already spent nearly two years in prison over charges of irregularities in the 2009 Haj operation.

He was slapped with allegations of involvement in the Haj corruption scandal and inflicting huge losses to the national coffers two years ago.

According to the charge sheet issued to Kazmi, Shakeel and Raja Aftabul Islam, the men were indicted for fraud, cheating, misuse of authority, and causing losses to the national exchequer and the public at large.(ANI)

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