Haj quota case Religious ministry seems to have collapsed: LHC CJ hints at referring operators’ issue to CCP for action
LAHORE: Lahore High Court chief justice Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday hinted at referring the issue of Haj tour operators’ monopoly to the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) for taking action against their cartelization. “It seems theMinistry of Religious Affairs has collapsed as it failed to handle issue of allotment of Haj quota,” the chief justice remarked while hearing a petition challenging the allocation of quota to the blue-eyed and family members.
The ministry lacked infrastructure and manpower which led it towards destruction, the CJ added. As the proceedings started on Thursday, the petitioners’ counsel Azhar Siddique told the court that blue-eyed and family companies were registered in the names of family members and associates of the beneficiaries. He said new Haj tour operators were being deprived of their right of allotment of quota due to cartelization of these companies.
Admitting failure of the ministry, a federal government law officer said that theministry was facing lack
of human resources due to whom it could not monitor the old Haj tour operators. The chief expressed displeasure over non-production of record relating to those entire family companies towhomthe quota was allotted by the ministry. “The issue of cartelization or monopoly of hajj tour operators may be sent to CCP for investigation so that action can be taken,” the chief justice observed. The chief justice directed the law officer to apprise the court of the issue on the next date of hearing after taking instruction fromtheministry. The court also summoned an officer concerned of the ministry on August 01.