ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the appeal of federal government wherein it had requested to increase the government Haj quota.

The federal government had filed an appeal against the Islamabad High Court (IHC)’s judgment wherein it fixed 60 per cent quota for the government and 40 per cent quota for private tour operators.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan took up the government’s appeal for hearing.

During the course of hearing, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sohail Mahmood informed the bench that the IHC through its judgment had reduced the government quota from 67 per cent to 60 per cent, adding the cabinet reverted the quota. The top court inquired as to how the cabinet could bypass a court order. 

The law officer responded that as per the apex court’s orders, a committee was formed on the issue to devise the formula for quota.

He said that the private Haj is more expensive than that of government.

The bench asked the law officer to point out error in the decision of IHC on the basis of which it was challenged. The bench observed that people should have the facility to perform a comfortable pilgrimage.

 The court then upheld the decision of IHC and dismissed the government’s plea. 

On March 16, the IHC had set the Haj quota at 60 per cent for the government and 40 per cent for private Haj operators for this year.

A two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb had ruled that the private Haj tour operators’ quota would remain 40 per cent for the year 2018.