Pakistan's ex-minister arrested over corruption charges

10:24, March 16, 2011      

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A former federal minister and sitting lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was arrested on Tuesday over corruption charges in pilgrimage, court officials said.

Hamid Saeed Kazmi, who was sacked by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in December for corrupt practices, was taken into custody from the court room after a judge ruled that he was directly involved in corruption.

Kazmi was on a pre-arrest bail but the judge of the special central court in Rawalpindi city rejected his bail and ordered his arrest. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had sought the minister's arrest but he had got a "Bail Before Arrest."

Local TV channels quoted the judge as arguing that the current back accounts of the former minister needs to be investigated.

The former minister is member of the National Assembly from Multan in Punjab and was elected on the ticket of PPP.

TV footage showed the former minister was holding by the personnel of the FIA, who shifted him to its headquarters for questioning.

Kazmi admitted in the court that procedure for balloting was changed to give opportunity to favorits, thus causing to the national exchequer.

The Supreme Court had taken a suo motu notice of media reports that commission was taken in renting residences for Pakistani pilgrims and more money were charges from the pilgrims.

The government has already arrested Director of Pakistan Hajj Affairs, Rao Shakil, who told the government that secretary of the ministry and other senior officers are involved in corruption.

Pakistan's former ambassador to Saudi Arabia also alleged that the minister was involved in corruption and that 25,000 rupees ( about 294 U.S. dollars) each was taken as commission from thousands of pilgrims going to Mecca.

Source: Xinhua

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