LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday ordered the Religious Affairs Ministry to distribute surplus Haj quota to new Haj Group Organizers (HGOs) who qualify conditions set in the Haj policy 2012.
The Lahore High Court chief justice passed the orders on a contempt petition filed by Ashfaq Ahmad Mirza and others against officials of the Religious Affairs Ministry for not allotting Haj quota to new HGOs despite court orders.
Earlier, a deputy attorney general arguing before the court submitted that the ministry had forwarded names of 105 HGOs for re-verification to Federal Board of Revenue for tax clearance. He pointed out that the HGOs did not include 32 non-filers, 14 HGO who did not file papers and three HGO who were included in CIB list.
The court was also told that the Security & Exchange Commission of Pakistan had yet to make a decision on the status of 17 HGOs which had management disputes.The Lahore High Court was also informed that the surplus quota had reached 3,700 pilgrims and it was expected to increase further. After hearing the arguments, the court ordered the ministry to distribute the surplus quota to new HGOs besides adjourning the matter to August 6.
The court also ordered the ministry to confirm the quota to existing HGOs after their re-verification from FBR.The petitioners, in their petition, submitted that the court had ordered the ministry to allot a quota of 5,000 pilgrims to new HGOs and complete the process by June 18. However, the respondents were delaying the matter to avoid the allotment of the quota to new HGOs. They pleaded the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the respondents for disobeying the court.