Hajj operators: Ministry asked to display defaulters’ names on website
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday directing ministry of religious affairs to put the names of defaulters’ Hajj group organizers (HGOs) on its website adjourned the proceedings of several contempt of court petitions to July 24 filed against the ministry for alleged illegal allocation of Hajj quota.
The chief justice remarked that the ministry’s authorities had not fulfilled their responsibilities to facilitate the pilgrims. He regretted that the inefficiency of government officials had been forcing the courts to do the job of the government.
As the proceedings started on Wednesday, a representative of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) submitted a report about the defaulter tour operators. The report revealed that 41 operators had not submitted their income tax return while 136 submitted the same after the due date.
It said three operators were defaulters in the list of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and 19 had not obtained mandatory clearance certificates from Security Exchange Commission Pakistan (SECP).
Counsel for the ministry told the court that Hajj quota of at least 1,000 pilgrims had been withdrawn from the defaulter tour operators. At this the chief justice directed the ministry to further withdraw quota from the defaulter operators. He directed to place the names of the defaulters on its website and also the names of eligible tour operators.
Some new tour operators had filed the contempt of court petitions through Azhar Siddique and pointed out discrimination on the part of the ministry in award of quota.
They had submitted that the court in its earlier order had directed the ministry to also allocate Hajj quota among the new tour operators. But the ministry ignored the order and awarded quota to previously registered operators only, the petitioners said and requested the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the officials of ministry.