RAWALPINDI - Acting Special Judge Central (SJC) Muhammad Ahmed Farooqi granted bail to former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi in Haj scam case on Monday. The court also ordered the former Federal Minister to submit two surety bonds of Rs 100,000 each.

Later in the evening, Kazmi was released from the sub-jail of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), outside which hundreds of his supporters accorded him a warm welcome by showering rose petals and chanting slogans “Long live Hamid Saeed Kazmi”.

During the hearing, Sardar Qaiser Ahmed Sagheer, the defence lawyer, argued that his client had been in custody of investigation agency since March 15, 2011 but no evidence could be presented against him before the trial court. He added that he was not responsible for the delay in the case; therefore, the court should accept the bail plea as per law and release his client.

On this, Acting SJC Muhammad Ahmed Farooqi granted bail to Kazmi against the two surety bonds of Rs 100,000 each and ordered his immediate release.

Two other accused - former additional secretary to Ministry of Religious Affairs Raja Aftabul Islam and former director-general Haj Rao Shakil Ahmed -  were also present In the courtroom.

On the other hand, Rao Shakil filed an application before the court requesting to unfreeze his salary account. The judge, however, reserved his verdict which would be laid down on August 30, 2012, the next date of hearing.

After unearthing the huge corruption in Haj arrangements in 2010, Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) while taking suo moto notice had instructed FIA to register a case against the responsible.

Later, FIA filed a case on November 12, 2010 nominating Kazmi, Aftabul Islam and Rao Shakil, who were being tried in the court of Special Judge Central in Rawalpindi.

The then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gialni had shown the door to Kazmi, the federal minister, for his alleged involvement in the Haj Scam.

The three were accused of indulging in widespread corruption during the course of renting residential buildings for Pakistani pilgrims in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and inflicting a loss of a billion rupees to the national exchequer.

Most of the buildings rented by the Hajj administrators were five kilometers away from the Haram Sharif, while according to law the accommodation for Hajjis should not be more than two kilometers away.

FIA handcuffed Hamid Saeed Kazmi on 15 March 2011 outside the court room immediately after his interim bail was rejected. Later, his bail petition was filed in the same trial court which was also rebuffed. The former minister had been incarcerated in jail for 1 year and 5 months.

Soon after getting release from jail, former Federal Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi, while talking to media men, said that he was hopeful that courts would provide him with justice. He said that he was innocent as FIA could not prove even a single evidence against him during the trial.

“I am not satisfied after getting bail from the court. I will satisfy and happy the day when I will get bail from the court of people of Pakistan” he said adding that nobody had any evidence against him.

He said that he would approach the court of people after acquittal from the court of law.

Kazmi granted bail

in Haj scam case