Gilani''s son appears before court in Haj scam

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Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Feb 21 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister YousufRaza Gilani''s son Abdul Qadir today appeared beforeinvestigators to answer questions regarding allegations thathe purchased a bulletproof SUV with kickbacks paid for hiringaccommodation for Haj pilgrims.

Emerging from the Federal Investigation Agency office(FIA), Abdul Qadir told reporters he had no role in the Hajscandal and had met officials regarding allegations that hehad "smuggled" a Toyota Prado Land Cruiser vehicle into thecountry.

"I am not to be bracketed with the Haj scam. Mine is aseparate case about the bulletproof car," he said.

Contending that he had bought the SUV with his ownmoney, Abdul Qadir said his tax returns and personal incomewould prove that he could afford two such vehicles.

"I came to the FIA office as an ordinary citizen andnot as a provincial lawmaker. By coming here, I have provedthat there is rule of law in the country," he said.

Abdul Qadir said he had submitted all documentsrelated to the purchase of the vehicle and would also respondto a questionnaire given to him by the FIA.

"I am ready to accept any punishment if I am foundguilty. I will accept the court''s verdict in this matter," hesaid.

He claimed that a "conspiracy" had been hatched toaccuse him of smuggling the vehicle into the country.

The FIA had earlier issued a summons to Abdul Qadir torecord his statement in connection with alleged corruption inthe hiring of accommodation for Haj pilgrims.

The summons was issued after he failed to appearbefore the FIA on February 14 to record his statement.

Abdul Qadir has been accused of receiving Rs 20million as kickbacks in the multi-million-rupee scandal thathas already cost two federal ministers their jobs.

Former Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi iscurrently free on interim bail after a court in Islamabadissued a warrant for his arrest.

The FIA summoned the premier''s son to record hisstatement in line with an order issued recently by the SupremeCourt, which is hearing a suo motu case on the Haj scam.

Zain Sukhera, a close friend of Abdul Qadir, who hasalso been linked to the scam, recently resigned from his postof consultant with the Information Technology Ministry. PTIRHL

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