Two Pak ministers sacked over corruption charges

Pak PM Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani sacked two ministers over a corruption scandal.

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Tuesday sacked Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Minister for Science and Technology Azam Khan Swati, after a public row between the two over a corruption scandal.

Swati led public criticism against Kazmi for his alleged involvement in corruption worth millions of rupees while hiring accommodation for thousands of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia during the annual Hajj this year.

The government has initiated a federal inquiry into the scandal and the Supreme Court started legal proceedings against Kazmi and other senior officials.

Gilani acted against the two ministers after Swati appeared in court Monday and presented evidence against his cabinet colleague. The court ordered to freeze Kazmi`s bank accounts and put his name on a blacklist to stop him from fleeing abroad.

The state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) said the government did not give reasons for the dismissals, but "it is believed that the minister of religious affairs was fired as serious allegations of corruption in the Hajj this year were levelled against him".

While Kazmi was shown the door because of his alleged corruption, Swati may have paid the price for highlighting wrongdoing of government members.

The civilian government took over in 2008 after over eight years of military rule and has been struggling to win public and international confidence due to alleged prevalence of corruption.

The issue of graft was one of the main hurdles in raising funds during the recent floods, when the international community preferred to provide aid to NGOs.


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