The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday directed the religious affairs ministry to allocate quota to three Haj group organizers.

Chief Justice LHC Umar Ata Bandial was hearing a petition calling for contempt proceedings against Federal Minister of Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah and Secretary Muhammad Azam Samaa over not complying with a court order on allocation of Haj quota among newly-registered Haj Group Organisers (HGOs), a private TV channel reported.

The new HGOs, through their counsel Azhar Siddique, have argued that the ministry deliberately ignored the court’s directions and did not allocate Haj quota among the petitioner-organisers.

During the hearing, the religious affairs ministry, through Haj Director (Lahore) Saeed Ahmad Malik, presented a list of 10 Haj group organisers who fulfilled the merit requirements.

Malik requested the court to assign quota to any of the HGOs of the list that he said fulfilled the allocation requirements.

The court directed the ministry to allocate quota to three out of the 10 HGOs after developing a consensus among the parties involved in the matter.

The petitioners’ counsel, Azhar Siddique, told the court that Hafiz Sher Ali, who had been serving as a joint secretary at the ministry, was transferred from his position for cooperating with the court.

Siddique said a transfer for cooperating with the court was tantamount to committing contempt and requested the court to initiate proceedings against those behind Ali’s transfer.