Misappropriation over Rs 36 mln in Hajj arrangements: Malik

Islamabad: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday said there was misappropriation of over Rs 36 million (1.6 million Saudi riyals) during Haj arrangements for Pakistani pilgrims.

Giving details of the corruption scam that has rocked the federal government in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament, Malik said several accused, including former Haj Director General Rao Shakeel, had been arrested and an investigation was underway.

He emphasised the need for improving the Haj policy in light of "grey areas" identified by the Interior Ministry.

There is a need to keep check on travel agents who only operate during Haj season, he said.

The Interior Ministry has launched an anti-corruption campaign and sacked several officers for their involvement in corruption, Malik said.

He, however, described Transparency International's survey of Pakistan as "substandard" and said the organisation's recent report "was not based on facts".

Responding to observations made by Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan regarding US interference in Pakistan's internal matters, Malik asked the House to constitute a committee to frame rules and regulations for dealing and working with foreigners.