Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court yesterday deferred hearing of two separate petitions filed by former Director General Haj Rao Shakeel and former Joint Secretary of ministry of religious affairs Aftabul Islam Raja against their conviction in Haj corruption case.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice IHC Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi conducted hearing of both the petitions against conviction in Haj corruption case. However, no further proceedings were held as FIA prosecutor did not appear before the court due to his illness and the court adjourned the hearing till July 20.

It was June 3, when Rao Shakeel was awarded 40 years imprisonment sentence with a fine amounting Rs 150.396 million rupees in Haj corruption case. The former DG Haj moved his appeal against the special judge central’s decision through his counsel Misbah-ul-Hassan Advocate and made state as respondent.

The petitioner contended in his appeal that none of the prosecution witnesses have uttered any word against him regarding kickbacks or commission and there is no such evidence on record to prove this offence.

Advocate Qazi Misbahul Hassan, counsel for the petitioner, argued before the court that ends of justice were not met in the decision given by trial court. He added that the case against Rao Shakeel is not proved from statement of any witness and it seems as if case has been registered against his client on mala fide intent and political basis.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to set aside his client’s sentence awarded by an SJC court.

On the other hand, the Federal Investigation Agency had previously sought some time from the court to argue in the matter of Aftabul Islam Raja who had challenged his sentence awarded to him by the court of special judge central on June 3, 2016.

He was arrested for his role in Haj corruption case on December 22, 2010. He was a co-accused with former Director General Haj, Rao Shakeel and former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi.

During the last hearing, authorities of Adiala Jail had submitted jail report before the IHC bench regarding the imprisonment sentence to the former joint secretary of the ministry of religious affairs.  According to the jail report, Aftabul Islam has completed his sentence on July 9, 2016 but he is undergoing sentence due to non-payment of Rs 148.3976 million fine.

In this report it was also said that the convict underwent a sentence of 3 years 10 months and 22 days while he was given a remission of two years in his sentence. However, FIA prosecutor sought time from the court to analyse and argue in this case.