LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Wednesday restrained Ministry of Religious Affairs from collecting Rs 5, 000 as Haj compensation fund from each pilgrim through Haj Organisation Association of Pakistan and private tour operators.

The court also sought details of Haj package being provided to pilgrims by old tour operators and observed that the Ministry should seek affidavit from tour operators about facilities to pilgrims.

Petitioner’s counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique argued that all tour operators companies were collecting Rs 5000 as compensation fund from every pilgrim and their applications are not accepted in case of non-payment of this fund.

The court put a query to Additional Attorney General as why the government had not taken action against tour operators banned by Saudi Arabian govt for providing poor facilities to pilgrims.

AAG replied that govt is conducting investigation against such companies. He said Rs.540 million were available in Haj Fund but the Supreme Court had frozen it in the wake of Haj scandal.  The court deferred hearing till June 18th.

 LHC dismisses plea to

disqualify PML-N MNA

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking disqualification of PML-N MNA Sardar Irfan Dogar and directed the petitioner to approach Election Tribunal.

The petitioner Khan Sher Akbar Khan, an independent candidate from NA-134 Sheikhupura, contended that Dogar won May 11 polls by rigging and manipulation. He requested the court to disqualify him and restrain him from holding the MNA seat. The court heard initial arguments and dismissed the plea by declaring it as infructuous.

 Send-off ceremony

held for Justice Rauf

A send-off ceremony was held on Wednesday in the judges lounge of Lahore High Court on the retirement of Justice Rauf Ahmad Sheikh on attaining the age of superannuation. All the judges stationed at LHC Principal Seat also graced the occasion. CJ Umar Ata Bandial presented souvenir and bouquet to Justice Rauf Ahmad Sheikh on his formal send-off.  He had the opportunity of holding different offices including that of Registrar and member Inspection Team and had developed a deep association with members of LHC establishment.

After his retirement, the strength of the judges in LHC was reduced to 40 judges. The sanctioned strength of the judges in LHC is 60 and the court is facing shortage of 20 judges.