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Gilani to oust Religious Affairs Minister over defective Haj arrangements

By Abdul Nisar

Islamabad, Nov 21 (ANI): Taking serious notice of inadequate Haj arrangements, corruption and irresponsible statement about the Saudi government, Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has decided to show the door to the Minister for Religious Affairs.

According to sources, suspensions of Secretary Religious Affairs and Joint Secretary Haj are also under consideration, The News reports.

Gilani has ordered an immediate inquiry into inadequate arrangements made by the Haj Directorate for Pakistani Hajis, and has immediately recalled the Director General Haj to Pakistan.

The prime minister said that shifting of responsibility and blame game were unacceptable, and further ordered that the Foreign Ministry should in future coordinate all arrangements at the government-to-government level for the Haj, as had been decided by the cabinet.

Gilani expressed profound appreciation for the excellent arrangements the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had always made for pilgrims.

His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz had always taken keen personal interest in the welfare of the pilgrims, said Gilani, adding, "Under his direction, the facilities for performance for Haj had been vastly improved."

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari has also directed the FIA to investigate the reports that the Ministry of Religious Affairs messed up the accommodation arrangements made for Hajis in Makkah, as well as complaints of non-provision of basic facilities for the Hajis. (ANI)

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