LAHORE - Eight private Haj Group Operators have filed a petition at Lahore Registry of Supreme Court of Pakistan to become party in an already pending case against Haj policy and allocation of Haj quota. The petitioners including Zainab Haj Services (Pvt) limited and others submitted they were qualified for allocation of quota as Haj Group Operators (HGO) according to the criteria set by the government. However, the government was giving Haj quota on political basis to the blue-eyed Haj Operators in violation of the rules and they were being ignored. Petitioners counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted the petitioners companies fulfilled basic and soft criteria announced by the relevant authorities for the purpose of allocation of quota but were ignored in the process of awarding the said quota. He said the petitioners cases were being dealt with discrimination regarding granting of Haj quotas. He said the government awarded quota purely on political consideration. The allocation of quota was challenged in Lahore High Court in a case reported as PLD 2007 Lahore 550, whereby the court had observed, It is not for this court to assess the stringency or scope of the criteria of selection of HGOs that is established by the respondents. The LHC further observed, In the foregoing context of the award of franchise or license rights by public authorities, the other crucial consideration before the court is the legal right of citizen to be given, subject to regulation, and equal opportunity to engage in a lawful trade or business. Such a right derives from Article 18 of the Constitution. In the present case, the relevant right that is claimed by the appellants is to be given equal opportunity to participate in a transparent selection process of HGOs on the basis of fair criteria that is applied uniformly. The foregoing constitutional right imposes an onerous obligation on the respondents to ensure the grant of HGO appointments by free competition on a level playing field, the counsel cited the judgment. The counsel pointed out that these observations of the court were violated in allocation of quota for 2008-09 and now there was very likelihood for being violated for Haj 2010. He said if the petitioners-companies were not impleaded as a party in the pending case, they will suffer an irreparable loss and injury to his property. It was, therefore, prayed that petitioners may be allowed to be impleaded as a necessary party and to argue the case and grant appropriate relief for grant of Haj Quota for the Haj 2010 in the interest of justice and fair play.