LHC Bars Private Hajj Operators From Booking

Lahore High Court on Friday restrained private Hajj Group Operators from making booking of aspiring pilgrims to send to Saudi Arabia for performing Hajj this year till May 9, 2012.

The LHC on Wednesday stayed the process of allocation of Haj quota to the previously registered Hajj group organisers (HGOs) with the ministry of religious affairs and sought a detailed reply from the ministry.

Issuing an interim order, Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that allocation of quota to only previously registered HGOs was a violation of Haj Policy 2012. Both new and old operators should be given equal opportunity to apply for the Haj quota, the judge further remarked.

The judge stopped the quota allocation process and adjourned hearing of different group operators’ petitions till May 9.

The petitioners through their counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted that due to unjust distribution of Haj quota to private tour operators, it had become impossible for the common man to bear Haj expenses. They said Haj policy 2012 had been announced and plan had been hatched to dish out quota on personal liking and disliking.

Petitioners stated that Supreme Court in its July 7, 2011 order had observed that government should observe transparency at the time of making next year (2012) Haj policy.

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