LAHORE-The Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Friday allowed protective bail till February 17 to former Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, Hamid Saeed Kazmi in the Haj corruption scandal. In view of the fact that matter fell in the territorial jurisdiction of Islamabad, the Court asked the petitioner to move the Islamabad High Court, with a formal bail petition in the case registered with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which the petitioner contends, want to arrest him in the same case. The Court directed the petitioner to pay Rs five million as surety bonds for the protective bail and that the amount would be deposited with the Multan Bench of the Lahore High Court. The petitioner had urged the court to allow him deposit of the surety bonds at Multan where his assets etc, existed. Sardar Khurram Latif Khan Khosa argued for the petitioner. The Haj scam surfaced after authorities in Ministry of Religious affairs allegedly minted huge money by acquiring as many as 87 buildings for the pilgrims of the last Haj in Saudi Arabia. The matter also caused serious hardships to the pilgrims during their stay in Mina and other sites during the Haj days during which certain unpleasant scenes were also witnessed. The Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the matter following a letter written by the Saudi Prince disclosing the illegalities and dubious practice carried out by Pakistani Haj authorities about hiring of the buildings. Following that the FIA got a case registered against former Director General Haj, Rao Shakeel Ahmad and Ahmad Shafee, under Sections 409, 3, 4, PPC read with Section 5(2) of PCA Prevention of Corruption Act of 1947. Hamid Saeed Kazmi, was also sacked from his Ministry when Azam Swati and others had raised voice for his removal on the charges of corruption and playing fraud on the Hujjaj. The FIA also wanted the Minister to associate himself with the FIA investigations for which the Agency was conducting raids at his Islamabad residence, but could not get hold of him. In his bail petition, Kazmi has denied the charges and said as Minister he only ensured a transparent policy for the Haj which was duly approved by the competent authority.