Lahore: A Pakistani court on Friday granted "protective bail" to a former federal minister whose arrest has been ordered by another court following a charge that he was allegedly involved in a scam related to the hiring of accommodation for Haj pilgrims at inflated rates.
Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court granted bail to former religious affairs minister Hamid Kazmi till February 17 against a surety bond of Rs 5 million. A lower court in Islamabad had yesterday issued the arrest warrant for a Kazmi following a request from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which is probing the Haj scam.
Kazmi`s lawyer Khurram Latif Khan Khosa told the High Court that the Supreme Court was hearing a suo motu case on the Haj scam and the next hearing was scheduled for February 15.
Khosa said the FIA had registered a case against some government officials but the former minister was not named in the FIR. He contended that the move to arrest Kazmi was malafide.
The counsel asked the High Court to grant protective bail to Kazmi as he wanted to appear in court to defend himself.
Kazmi was sacked by the PM last year following allegations that he was involved in irregularities in hiring accommodation for Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.